Triathlon, ‘the fastest growing sport in the US Olympic Movement’, has received overwhelming approval from the NCAA Division I Legislative Council to be the next Emerging Sport for Women, thus creating new opportunities within the Olympic pipeline for student-athletes.
The vote was 95% in favour as announced during the NCAA council’s session as part of the 2014 NCAA Convention in San Diego, California. As a result, triathlon will be added as an autumn/fall sport in the US, and school athletic departments will be able to form teams and compete at the varsity level beginning in August 2014.
“Today is a watershed moment for the sport,” said Rob Urbach, USA Triathlon CEO. “After four years of hard work behind the scenes, this announcement represents a huge victory for current and future student-athletes, for the NCAA member institutions that will operate varsity triathlon programs, and for USA Triathlon’s future Olympic success.”
He added, “I’d like to personally thank Karen Morrison, Chair of the NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics, as well as everyone else who dedicated their time and talents to this cause.”
Triathlon offers an exciting competition event model featuring draft-legal cycling, a format used in the Olympic Games and International Triathlon Union (ITU) competition. USA Triathlon (USAT) notes that, 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 USAT 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.
NCAA (The National Collegiate Athletic Association) is a membership-driven organization dedicated to safeguarding the well-being of student-athletes and equipping them with the skills to succeed on the playing field, in the classroom and throughout life.
The organisation supports learning through sports by integrating athletics and higher education to enrich the college experience of student-athletes. NCAA members – mostly colleges and universities, but also conferences and affiliated groups – work together to create the framework of rules for fair and safe competition.
Founded in 1982, USA Triathlon is proud to serve as the National Governing Body for triathlon – the fastest growing sport in the US Olympic Movement – as well as duathlon, aquathlon, aquabike, winter triathlon, off-road triathlon and paratriathlon in the United States.
USA Triathlon sanctions more than 4,300 races and connects with more than 550,000 members each year, making it the largest multisport organization in the world. In addition to its work with athletes, coaches and race directors on the grassroots level, USA Triathlon provides leadership and support to elite athletes competing at international events, including International Triathlon Union (ITU) World Championships, Pan American Games and the Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games.
USA Triathlon is a proud member of the ITU and the United States Olympic Committee (USOC).