COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - The NCAA decided Friday afternoon at its Division I business meeting held in Atlanta to approve the addition of sand volleyball to its list of emerging sports for women, a position supported by USA Volleyball (USAV), American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) and Association of Volleyball Professionals (AVP).
By a vote of 166 yes, 118 no and one abstention in favor of the override with each institution holding one vote at the NCAA Convention, an override measure attempting to strike down the original addition of sand volleyball to the emerging sport list failed to pass with only 58.5 percent. The override measure needed a five-eighths majority, or 62.5 percent, to overturn the legislation.
The NCAA Division I Board of Directors will determine the effective date during its meeting on Jan. 16. The AVCA has asked the NCAA Division I Board of Directors to push back the original effective date from Aug. 1, 2010, to Aug. 1, 2011, so adequate time can be spent determining the sport's legislative parameters.
The sand volleyball proposal, known officially as No. 2008-59, has drawn support from many groups outside of the USA Volleyball, the AVP and the AVCA as a way to add new opportunities for women to compete collegiately in a popular domestic and Olympic sport. Further, USAV views the addition of sand volleyball as a way to engage a new generation of volleyball players at the youth levels with the potential of collegiate scholarship looming in the future.
"I applaud the work of our USA Volleyball leadership and colleagues at the NCAA, AVCA and AVP who have enabled sand volleyball to be offered to aspiring female athletes nationwide at the NCAA Division I and II levels," USA Volleyball Chairman of the Board David Schreff said. "We are truly one worldwide sport, played on two court surfaces, hardwood and sand. The far-sighted university administrators, athletic directors and coaches took a huge step to grow the sand discipline and to inspire girls and young women to explore playing on sand as well as indoor court volleyball."
As an emerging sport for women within the NCAA, sand volleyball would also expand the existing pipeline of athletes and coaches for the U.S. to maintain its competitive advantage in the international levels of the sport. The U.S. swept the men's and women's Olympic beach gold medals in 2008. Misty May-Treanor (Costa Mesa, Calif.) and Kerri Walsh (Saratoga, Calif.) have become celebrities after winning their second consecutive Olympic gold medal at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, while Phil Dalhausser (Ormond Beach, Fla.) and Todd Rogers (Santa Barbara, Calif.) captured the 2008 Olympic Games gold medal. The U.S. has won at least one gold medal in Olympic beach volleyball since it was initiated in 1996.