GSU Photo Credit:
Johnny Crawford, AJC
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 (according to the 2009 Sporting Goods Manufacturing Association's research). The addition of Sand Volleyball to the NCAA's Emerging Sports List for women will add 12-14 collegiate participation opportunities for women, and, over time, college scholarships will be available in NCAA Divisions I and II.
Once the number of varsity teams crosses the 40-school threshold, which is anticipated to occur in the spring of 2014, the NCAA will begin making plans to transition Sand Volleyball to championship sport status. It is also anticipated that the sport, which is internationally known as Beach Volleyball, will undergo a name change at that time.
The opportunity for juniors play is also expanding rapidly. The Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) hosts a whole series of junior beach events. For information go to www.AAUBeach.org.
USA Volleyball is also part of a group that hosts a series of youth beach events called the USA Beach Junior Tour, which concludes with their USA Beach Junior Tour Open Championships. More information on that tour can be found here.