NCAA News Archive - 2008

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Council backs one emerging sport, balks at another

The Division III Management Council favors asking the membership to vote on whether to add equestrian as an emerging sport. Photo courtesy Smith College.
Jul 23, 2008 10:47:53 AM

By Jack Copeland
The NCAA News

MINNEAPOLIS – The Division III Management Council agrees the time may have come to join Divisions I and II in granting equestrian status as an emerging sport, but it isn’t ready yet to join Division II this year in recommending that sand volleyball also be included on the list.

The Council endorsed sponsorship of a proposal at the 2009 Convention to place equestrian on the emerging-sports list. The proposal’s approval would be a major step that likely would boost Association-wide sponsorship close to the number of schools needed to establish a National Collegiate women’s championship.

More than 20 Division III institutions currently might be able to offer varsity equestrian programs in accordance with NCAA rules. Nearly that many schools already are doing so in Divisions I and II, which means the sport might have the 40 sponsoring institutions required by NCAA legislation to be considered for championship status. However, it isn’t known whether all of the Division III institutions wish to sponsor the sport under NCAA rules.

Division I agreed in 1999 to list equestrian as an emerging sport and Division II followed suit soon after, but Division III backed away from joining the other divisions because of concerns about whether institutions could successfully conduct programs within rules governing such areas as amateurism and playing and practice seasons.

The Council now agrees with the NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics’ recommendation last week that the question should be placed before the membership for a decision, and asked the Presidents Council to do so.

Management Council members, however, aren’t prepared to do the same for sand volleyball.

In contrast to an action Monday by the Division II Management Council to propose placing the sport on that division’s emerging-sports list, the Division III Council said it needs more information about how the sport would be conducted at the varsity level before asking Division III members to grant emerging-sport status.

Noting that emerging sports seek to increase participation by women in intercollegiate athletics, the Council said it needs more details about how competition would be conducted between teams, how many women would be involved in that competition, and what kind of facilities schools would need to provide to support competition and practice.

In a related action, the Council also endorsed the Committee on Women’s Athletics’ recommendation to ask the Division III membership to remove four sports – archery, badminton, synchronized swimming and team handball – from the emerging-sports list. It accepted the committee’s judgment that none of the four sports has demonstrated progress toward the sponsorship number required for creation of an NCAA championship.

The Council asked the Presidents Council to sponsor a Convention proposal to remove those sports from the list. Because inclusion of a sport on the emerging-sport list enables an institution to count that sport toward division sport-sponsorship requirements, removing the sport from the list would mean that a school wishing to count the sport would annually be required to obtain a waiver to do so.

No Division III institution’s ability to meet sport-sponsorship requirements is expected to be immediately impacted by removal of any of the four sports from the list.

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