The USA Triathlon Board of Directors has approved an increase in funding for USA Triathlon, in partnership with the USA Triathlon Foundation, to support collegiate triathlon programs at the club and varsity levels. Additional resources will support new and existing collegiate programs, as well as fund a special grant for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).
All grants will be distributed by the USA Triathlon Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that serves as the charitable arm of USA Triathlon.
“The USA Triathlon Board of Directors is proud to support collegiate triathlon programming at all levels,” said Barry Siff, USA Triathlon Board President. “We believe these resources will encourage young people to stay involved in multisport through their collegiate years, which is critical to growing participation and membership in support of USA Triathlon’s Strategic Plan.”
“At the USA Triathlon Foundation, we are focused on three priorities: youth, paratriathletes and Olympic dreamers,” said David Deschenes, Executive Director of the USA Triathlon Foundation. “With these new grant opportunities, we give competitive triathletes with Olympic dreams the chance to pursue their sport in college. At the same time, we give young triathletes a vision for their future in multisport, and enable college-aged paratriathletes to compete as part of a collegiate team.”
Deemed an NCAA Emerging Sport for Women in 2014, triathlon has a 10-year window to demonstrate sustainability as an NCAA sport option. USA Triathlon is more than halfway to its goal of recruiting 40 schools by 2024 to earn full-fledged Championship sport status, as 25 schools currently offer the sport at the varsity level for women.
The USA Triathlon Foundation Women’s Emerging Sport Grant, which is distributed to select NCAA membership institutions to develop, implement, grow and sustain women’s triathlon programs at the NCAA varsity level, will be supplemented with an additional US$670,000. Grants will be prioritized for schools that commit to sponsoring varsity women’s triathlon programs by 2021. Funding is typically distributed over three years, and the total amount varies for NCAA Division I, II and III programs.
For current varsity women’s triathlon programs, US$25,000 in grant funding is now available to offset travel costs to Women’s Collegiate Triathlon Regional Qualifiers and the Women’s Collegiate Triathlon National Championships.
In addition, USA Triathlon is offering a US$225,000 grant for the first Historically Black College and University (HBCU) that adds women’s triathlon as a varsity sport. The funding is earmarked specifically for an HBCU in a proactive effort to increase diversity in collegiate triathlon. The grant will be distributed over a five-year period and may support travel, equipment, coaching, scholarships and other expenses related to building a sustainable varsity program.
At the collegiate club level, USA Triathlon will dedicate US$50,000 in grant funding over two years to club programs as part of an ongoing recruitment and retention strategy. Eligible clubs may be new, restarting or existing, and may include men’s clubs formed alongside varsity-level women’s programs.
Approximately 140 colleges and universities in the US offer triathlon as a club sport, and 120 participated in the 2018 USA Triathlon Collegiate Club National Championships in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
“This additional funding will allow us to enhance our collegiate triathlon community in several key areas and assist schools in creating sustainable programs at every level,” said Tim Yount, USA Triathlon’s Chief Operating Officer. “Through these grants, we will provide support to current varsity and club programs, encourage new colleges and universities to join the USA Triathlon family, and recruit diverse student-athletes to the sport of triathlon.”