USA Triathlon has announced that Texas Christian University (TCU) in Fort Worth, Texas, has added women’s triathlon as a varsity sport following a unanimous decision by the Intercollegiate Athletics Committee of TCU’s Board of Trustees.
TCU becomes the second school from a Power Five Conference to add the sport, joining four-time NCAA Division I national champions Arizona State University (Tempe, Arizona). The school is the first in Texas, the seventh at the NCAA DI level and the 34th program nationwide across the US to offer women’s triathlon at the varsity level.
The ‘Horned Frogs’ will begin competition in the autumn/fall of 2021. A national search for a head coach will commence this spring.
“We are very excited to add women’s triathlon to our intercollegiate athletics program,” said Victor Boschini, Jr, TCU Chancellor. “Triathlon will provide additional opportunities for our female student-athletes to participate in collegiate-level competition while enjoying an outstanding academic experience.”
“The addition of women’s triathlon at TCU represents a major milestone in the women’s collegiate triathlon movement,” said Rocky Harris, USA Triathlon CEO. “As our first Big 12 Conference program, TCU will be a force to be reckoned with on the race course, while serving as a trailblazer among Power Five Conference schools in the years to come.”
The addition of women’s triathlon as TCU’s 22nd varsity sport is made possible through the USA Triathlon Foundation Women’s Emerging Sport Grant, distributed to select NCAA membership institutions to develop, implement and sustain women’s triathlon programs at the varsity level.
“A myriad of factors goes into not only adding a sport but also finding the right one for your university and athletics profile,” said Jeremiah Donati, TCU Director of Intercollegiate Athletics. “Triathlon checks all the boxes for us. We believe we also have an opportunity to immediately compete at the highest collegiate level.
“Additionally, we will attract new students from across the country and support our goal of providing women with more opportunities to participate in sports. I’d like to thank TCU Senior Associate Athletics Director/Senior Woman Administrator Kim Johnson for her diligent work in this process, including site visits to other institutions sponsoring triathlon. We also very much appreciate the assistance and support of USA Triathlon.”
TCU joins six other NCAA DI women’s triathlon programs, including ASU, East Tennessee State University (Johnson City, Tennessee.), Hampton University (Hampton, Virginia.), University of San Francisco, University of South Dakota (Vermillion, South Dakota) and Wagner College (Staten Island, New York).
“We are excited and thrilled that TCU is helping grow the sport of triathlon on the collegiate level,” said Ray Anderson, Vice President of Athletics at ASU. “We look forward to the university investing in not only its own program, but the sport as a whole. When a sport is added at a school in its infant stage, it is a group effort, and we welcome TCU into our group that is intent on driving collegiate triathlon competition to the highest level.”
The NCAA named triathlon an Emerging Sport for Women in 2014, a designation that gives USA Triathlon a 10-year window to demonstrate the sport’s sustainability at the NCAA level by recruiting at least 40 varsity programs by 2024. The governing body is nearing that milestone with momentum on its side, as 26 schools have added the sport since January 2017, and 34 schools have done so since 2014.
Women’s triathlon is an autumn/fall sport, and the varsity season includes three regional qualifiers followed by the Women’s Collegiate Triathlon National Championships. Races are sprint-distance, featuring a 750m open-water swim, draft-legal 20km bike and 5km run.
Women’s Varsity Collegiate Triathlon Programs (as of January 8, 2020):
NCAA Division I
Arizona State University (Tempe, Ariz.)
East Tennessee State University (Johnson City, Tenn.)
Hampton University (Hampton, Va.)
Texas Christian University (Fort Worth, Texas)
University of San Francisco (San Francisco. Calif.)
University of South Dakota (Vermillion, S.D.)
Wagner College (Staten Island, N.Y.)
NCAA Division II
American International College (Springfield, Mass.)
Belmont Abbey College (Belmont, N.C.)
Black Hills State University (Spearfish, S.D.)
Colorado Mesa University (Grand Junction, Colo.)
Daemen College (Amherst, N.Y.)
Davis & Elkins College (Elkins, W.V.)
Drury University (Springfield, Mo.)
Lenoir-Rhyne University (Hickory, N.C.)
King University (Bristol, Tenn.)
Montana State University Billings (Billings, Mont.)
Queens University of Charlotte (Charlotte, N.C.)
St. Thomas Aquinas College (Sparkill, N.Y.)
Southern Wesleyan University (Central, S.C.)
NCAA Division III
Calvin College (Grand Rapids, Mich.)
Central College (Pella, Iowa)
Coe College (Cedar Rapids, Iowa)
Concordia University Wisconsin (Mequon, Wis.)
Eastern Mennonite University (Harrisonburg, Va.)
Mary Baldwin University (Staunton, Va.)
Guilford College (Greensboro, N.C.)
Millikin University (Decatur, Ill.)
Milwaukee School of Engineering (Milwaukee, Wis.)
North Central College (Naperville, Ill.)
Northern Vermont University-Johnson (Johnson, Vt.)
Transylvania University (Lexington, Ky.)
Trine University (Angola, Ind.)
Willamette University (Salem, Ore.)