As the next emerging NCAA sport for women, triathlon has a bright future ahead. The competition has risen in popularity recently among all age groups. College level competition is a great area for this sport because it requires just as much training and skills as other NCAA sports, and it’s functions great as both an individual and team sport as well.
There are already about 160 club triathlon teams at the college level, from all over the country. Membership with the USAT grows rapidly each year, especially at the youth level. The Under 16 age group makes up for more than one-fourth of the annual membership for the organization. A lot of parents have gotten their kids involved in the competition which means more student-athletes entering high school would definitely be interested in triathlon as a collegiate sport. While it will start as a women’s NCAA sport only, there will still be opportunities for male triathletes to find a club team to compete on.
In order to get triathlon in the door at the NCAA, the Committee on Women’s Athletics needs 10 letters of support and it already has 6 with plenty of time before the deadline on June 1, 2013 to get four more. The schools who have already submitted their letters include Adams State, Monmouth, Marymount (Virginia), Arizona, Colorado- Colorado Springs, and Air Force. Navy has also made their intent to submit a letter so the committee would only need three more schools. If triathlon is able to meet the required 10 letters, then the sport would need 40 sponsoring schools to officially have triathlon as a championship sport within the NCAA.
So what does this mean for female high school triathletes? Well, that means that within the next couple of years, you could be recruited to compete on a collegiate triathlon team within the inaugural season as an NCAA sport. This offers more athletic opportunities and possible scholarships. Make sure you follow the progress of this sport and the schools who decide to support it. Those will be the coaches you want to contact if and when it becomes a championship sport. While it still is in the works, there’s a very real chance this could be the next big sport in women’s college athletics.