Next week, collegiate triathlon is expected to take an important milestone in the process for becoming a NCAA sport. This news comes on the heels of the 2013 USAT Collegiate National Championships held in Tempe, Ariz., which saw the University of Colorado win its fourth-consecutive team title, and just days ahead of a critical NCAA deadline that threatened to derail the proposal.
On April 29, a group of individuals that represent the sport and the NCAA proposal will travel to the NCAA’s headquarters in Indianapolis, Ind., to meet with the Committee on Women’s Athletics (CWA) to answer final questions about the proposal to name triathlon an “emerging sport for women.”
This route to NCAA recognition was established in 1994 as a means of correcting widespread gender-equity issues that plagued varsity sports and placed many schools in violation of federal Title XI regulations. The multistep process requires 1) 10 written letters of support from NCAA schools, signed by the university president and athletic director 2) adoption by the CWA and 3) a vote of approval from NCAA membership at its annual January meeting.
Women’s rowing, ice hockey, water polo and bowling are the success stories of the process. Each began with the “emerging” tagline and are today full-fledged NCAA championships sports, having demonstrated “steady growth” and reaching 40 varsity programs within 10 years.
Next Monday’s meeting could go a long way in helping add triathlon to that list of success stories, but it’s a meeting that almost never happened.
For the greater part of four years, Brad Hecker, the Director of Women’s Basketball for the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), and Jeff Dyrek, USAT National Events Director, have worked to secure the written support of triathlon as a varsity sport from NCAA institutions. Hecker and Dyrek had managed seven by the end of 2012. The letters, however, are not valid indefinitely. Just three shy of the necessary 10, a number of the first letters Hecker and Dyrek solicited were scheduled to expire at the end of April.
Read more: Tritrackers.com
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