Sponsorship of Collegiate Beach Volleyball Doubles in 2013
The number of colleges sponsoring a varsity program in beach volleyball, referred to as sand volleyball by the NCAA, has increased by 100% since the sport was added to the emerging sports list prior to last season. Fifteen Division I schools competed in the 2012 inaugural season. They will be joined by 15 more varsity programs in 2013; 14 from Division I and one from Division II.
Grand Canyon University is the first Division II school to add a program. The University of Nebraska is the first institution from the Midwest to sponsor Sand Volleyball, as well as the first program from the Big Ten. Stanford University and UCLA from the Pac 12 have joined conference colleague USC in sponsoring a beach team. USC was the first institution to announce they would add a varsity program in October of 2009.
The Atlantic Sun Conference has led the way in terms of league sponsorship. The ASUN will host their second Sand Volleyball Conference Championship in April and will play a league schedule in 2013. The five schools sponsoring Sand Volleyball are Florida Gulf Coast University, Jacksonville University, Mercer, Stetson and the University of North Florida. To reward their commitment, the ASUN will be the first conference to receive an automatic bid into the AVCA Collegiate Sand Volleyball National Championships.
Gulf Shores, Alabama will again host the AVCA Championships on May 3-5, 2013. Pepperdine University swept both the Team and the Pair's Championships at the 2012 AVCA Collegiate Sand Volleyball National Championship last April. CBS Sports Network will also be on-site again to provide television coverage as part of their CBS Sports Spectacular.
"The growth of beach volleyball as a collegiate sport has been remarkable," said AVCA Executive Director Kathy DeBoer. "Our partners in Gulf Shores, at CBS Sports, at USA Volleyball, the NCAA and in the individual institutions can all take credit for the warp speed at which programming is expanding. The story line on this sport has many heroes."
Once the number of varsity teams crosses the 40-school threshold, which is anticipated to occur in the spring of 2014, the NCAA will begin making plans to transition Sand Volleyball to championship sport status. It is also anticipated that the sport, which is internationally known as Beach Volleyball, will undergo a name change at that time.
To serve up the new season, the AVCA is releasing the first Pre-Season Sand Volleyball Coaches Poll. The top ten programs, as voted on by the participating institutions, are:
4. Florida State
5. University of Hawai'i
7. College of Charleston
8. Florida International University
"We can't wait to get started," said Nina Matthies, coach of the defending national champion, Pepperdine Waves and chair of the AVCA Sand Volleyball Coaches Committee. "This is an amazing college sport, great for players and spectators alike. As a long time player and coach, the popularity doesn't surprise me one bit, but it's still very exciting."
The AVCA, with its headquarters in Lexington, Ky., is managed by Associations International. The mission of the AVCA is to advance the sport of volleyball and its coaches. With a membership of over 6,300 and counting, the AVCA provides a professional network for those individuals and companies dedicated to enhancing and promoting the sport. Members include collegiate, high school, club, youth and Olympic coaches, as well as volleyball club directors. The AVCA provides education to volleyball coaches, recognition of elite players and coaches, promotion of volleyball competitions throughout the world, and networking opportunities for volleyball products and services providers. Further information is available at http://avca.scoutware.net/vb/cgi/router.pl?mailID=2410M0413594401_2163&playerID=16569&linkID=W1115541600_1.