NCAA EMERGING SPORTS
College sports for women
The NCAA, National Collegiate Athletic Association, is a group that oversees college sports. The NCAA is made up of three divisions, Division I, Division II and Division III, and is associated with over 1,000 colleges and universities. This association is regulated by members and is headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana. Its main functions are to develop, interpret and enforce rules of intercollegiate athletics, and to promote college sports.
Within the NCAA is the Committee on Women’s Athletics (CWA). This committee is responsible for handling tasks associated with emerging sports for women. The Gender-Equity Task Force recommended this program in 1994, and it has been in existence since then. Emerging sports is a term that was created to represent athletic opportunities for female athletes. This portion, of the NCAA, is primarily designed to promote female sports and to offer female athletes as many athletic opportunities as is feasible. Currently, there are three sports on the emerging sports list, which are rugby, equestrian and sand volleyball. When the list was initially compiled, it contained nine sports, which included archery, badminton, equestrian, rugby, squash, synchronized swimming and team handball.
Four sports that were once emerging sports are now part of the NCAA championships. These sports are all women’s sports and they are rowing, water polo, ice hockey and bowling. Although, there are currently several sports listed as emerging sports, there are no guarantees that any of them will actually become sponsored sports by the NCAA. There are strict requirements, outlined in the bylaws of the NCAA, for a sport to become sponsored and considered an NCAA championship sport. Each emerging sport is given 10 years to become sponsored and funded by at least 40 institutions at the varsity level. The 10 year time period is given to allow the progress of each sport to steadily increase across various colleges and universities. The four sports that became NCAA championship sports all grew extremely quickly; which was the reason they became NCAA sponsored. Many of the other sports, however, are showing very little growth.
There are several sports, on the emerging sport list, that are most likely going to be removed from the list. Archery, badminton, team handball and synchronized swimming are four of these sports that have not fulfilled the NCAA’s requirements to become a championship sport. Cheerleading is often thought to be an emerging sport; however, it is not recognized as a sport, according to the NCAA. Two emerging sports that are coming close to becoming NCAA championship sports are rugby and squash. Both of these sports have gained huge interest and will most likely be transferred from the emerging sport list to the championship sport list. Sand volleyball is the most currently added sport to the list of emerging sports. This occurred in 2009, and because of its popularity, is expected to become a NCAA championship sport in the near future. Women’s equestrian was placed on the emerging sports list in 1998, and is currently progressing in popularity.
As the popularity of these sports grows, it is possible that some of the sports will become championship sports; however, there is no guarantee. It takes years for this to occur, and interest in colleges, universities and female athletes.