At the 2018 NJCAA Annual Meetings, the Board of Directors passed the adoption of beach volleyball to become a full-time varsity sport in 2019, the first sport added to the association since half marathon and women's lacrosse in 2003-2004.
Programs will be able to field teams beginning in the fall of 2018 with the official competitive season beginning in the spring of 2019. The first official national championship will be held in the spring of 2021, the 48th NJCAA national championship event.
Mary Young, head volleyball coach at Central (NE), Vice President of the NJCAA Volleyball Coaches Association, and Region IX Women's Director served as the lead throughout the adoption process. "It's an exciting time for the NJCAA with the addition of the sport of beach volleyball," Young expressed. "This addition will provide endless opportunities to our member schools and most importantly to our student-athletes."
The NJCAA partnered with the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) during the course of the four-year progression. AVCA Executive Director Kathy DeBoer expressed her enthusiasm of a collegiate organization adding the sport. "Beach volleyball, played as a tennis-style, flighted team sport, is relatively new to the college scene. The growth has been remarkable with over 70 four-year colleges adding programs in just six years. This forward-looking vote by the NJCAA will open new opportunities to attract student-athletes to its campuses and give options to those wanting to move on."
"Without question, this addition doesn't happen without the guidance, insight, and involvement with our friends at the AVCA, especially Kathy DeBoer" Young added. "Her passion for beach volleyball and opportunities for young people was contagious for all of us involved to make this dream a reality."
Proclaimed as the fastest growing NCAA Division I sport, the NCAA has hosted national championships in beach volleyball in each of the last two seasons. As of the fall of 2016, 55 DI, 11 DII, and three DIII programs have been recognized by the NCAA from California across the nation to Alabama, Florida, and Maryland, among others.
Along with NJCAA 1st Vice President for women Marci Henry of Northeastern (CO), Young sees a bright future for the newest sport. "Marci and I are so proud and overwhelmed with joy that we were a part of this project that will bring new opportunities for member schools and ultimately enhance the education experience for hundreds of lives in the future."
"It has been one of the most satisfying projects I've been a part of in my career," Young added. "I'm excited to see where the journey of beach volleyball will take the NJCAA and our student-athletes."
To learn more regarding beach volleyball, visit: AVCA Beach Volleyball
About the NJCAA : Since 1938, the NJCAA has served as the nation’s premier governing body for two-year collegiate athletics, providing athletic and academic opportunities for college students across the globe. The NJCAA is the second-largest national intercollegiate athletic organization in the United States with over 500 member schools in 42 states. Each year, nearly 60,000 student-athletes compete in one of 28 different sports as the organization sponsors 48 national championship events and eight football bowl games. For more information please visit njcaa.orgor follow on Twitter at @NJCAA.