Collegiate Sand Volleyball Picks Up Steam
LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 31, 2011) - In 2009, the NCAA membership voted to add Sand Volleyball to the Emerging Sports List for women in Divisions I and II. Legislative parameters were added for Division II in January 2010 and for Division I in January of 2011. Sand Volleyball will be a spring sport with institutions able to compete in a maximum of 16 dates of competition. Up to five new scholarships can be added in Division II and six in Division I. Division I also will allow for the addition of two coaches; Division II does not regulate the size of coaching staffs.
Currently, there are 16 collegiate programs who have confirmed that they will field a varsity Sand Volleyball team for the 2011-12 school year. This list includes the University of Southern California, who was the first school to announce it was adding a sand team in October of 2010. Joining USC in the West is: the University of California, Santa Barbara, California State University, Long Beach, and the University of Hawai'i. Those in the Southeast adding programs in 2011-12 are: Florida State University, the College of Charleston, Jacksonville University, Florida Atlantic University, Mercer University, the University of North Florida, the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Saint Leo University, Stetson University, Warner University, Webber International, and Tulane University. 13 of these programs are NCAA Division I institutions, while Saint Leo competes at the NCAA Division II level. Warner and Webber International are both members of the NAIA. Another Southeastern school, Georgia State University, has committed to add a varsity sand team in 2012-12.
In another bright spot for the development for the sport, five of the aforementioned programs have made public plans to offer scholarships to student-athletes in 2011-12: College of Charleston, Florida State, USC and Warner.
The AVCA has been made aware of 30 other institutions that are discussing implementing a Sand Volleyball program on their campus, and that number grows each week. Three schools - Grand Canyon University, Warner and Webber International - are discussing adding a men's Sand Volleyball program along with a women's.
The NCAA requires that at least 40 institutions sponsor NCAA varsity programs before they will move a sport from the Emerging Sports List to Championship Sport status. Sand Volleyball is a team sport in the NCAA with a format similar to collegiate tennis. Each school will field five doubles teams ranked by ability that will compete in dual matches against similarly ranked teams from another school, or in a tournament composed of five flights. It is estimated that the average Sand Volleyball team will have 14-16 student-athletes.
"The addition of Sand Volleyball to the Emerging Sports List is the most significant development in our sport since the passage of Title IX," said AVCA Executive Director Kathy DeBoer. "The new opportunities for participation, scholarships and coaching created by the addition of varsity programs in Sand Volleyball will start a wave of growth not seen since the 1980's."
As has been the case for several years, many colleges will participate in sand events this spring. The Florida Coaches Beach Volleyball Championships, a Division II event, will be held on April 9 in Orlando, Fla. One week later on April 16, the Fiesta on Siesta Key will take place in Siesta Key, Fla., with the event hosting over 100 four-year and two-year collegiate teams. The USAV Beach Collegiate Challenge is also taking place that day in Hermosa Beach, Calif. The season finale is CBS Sports' 2011 Alt Games Collegiate Beach Championships, an event for post-eligibility seniors looking to start a career in the beach game. The championships will begin May 12 at the Chula Vista Olympic Training Center and finish outside the Wave House in San Diego, Calif. on May 14.
The opportunity for juniors play is also expanding rapidly. According to the 2009 Sporting Goods Manufacturing Association's research, participation in beach volleyball has grown by over 25% in the last two years and over 300,000 girls under the age of 18 are participating in the sand sport. The Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) hosts a nationwide series of junior beach events, http://www.aaubeach.org/, as does USA Volleyball, http://www.usabeach.org/.
For more information on Sand Volleyball, including rules & legislation, facilities, events and a complete list of schools who have discussed adding a program, visit the Sand Volleyball section of the AVCA Web site at www.avca.org/sand. For frequently asked questions about Sand Volleyball, click here.