Emerging Sport status supports U.S. Olympic pipeline and athlete development
More than 90 percent of Division II and Division III schools approved triathlon as the next Emerging Sport for Women today, just days after the sport earned Emerging Sport status in an overwhelming vote from the NCAA Division I Legislative Council.
The vote was 96 percent in favor for Division II schools, and 93 percent in favor for Division III as announced during the 2014 NCAA Convention in San Diego, Calif. Triathlon will be added as a fall sport, and athletic departments will be able to form teams and compete at the varsity level beginning in August 2014. The addition of triathlon as an Emerging Sport will allow for new opportunities within the Olympic pipeline for student-athletes.
Triathlon offers an exciting competition event model featuring draft-legal cycling, a format used in the Olympic Games and International Triathlon Union (ITU) competition. As an NCAA sport, triathlon will create revenue-generating opportunities and foster community relations, with the option for institutions to host varsity competitions and include race options for the general public.
An emerging sport is a sport recognized by the NCAA that is intended to explore new sports and grow participation opportunities for female student-athletes. Institutions are allowed to use emerging sports to help meet the NCAA minimum sports sponsorship requirements, minimum financial aid award requirements, and gender equity standards. Four former emerging sports have grown in sponsorship and been approved as NCAA championship sports – water polo, bowling, ice hockey and rowing.
USA Triathlon has led the effort to include triathlon as an NCAA sport since 2010. Nearly 200 schools currently have club triathlon programs and USA Triathlon has held Collegiate National Championships since 1992. Triathlon was added to the Olympic program in 1994 and made its debut at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia.