A Tough Start For Triathlon As An NCAA Sport

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  • Published Apr 16, 2014
Athletes compete at the 2014 USAT Collegiate National Championships, a club-based competition. Photo: Mario Cantu

The New York Times is reporting that only one school has committed to adding women’s triathlon as a collegiate sport.

The N.C.A.A. in January adopted women’s triathlon as an “emerging sport,” giving it a decade to attract at least 40 varsity teams in order to become a championship sport.

More than 160 colleges and universities have triathlon clubs, and at least a dozen universities told the N.C.A.A. in a letter that they would consider adding a varsity program.

But when asked about that commitment, only one—Marymount University in Virginia, which already has a varsity program—said it planned to compete at the N.C.A.A. level.

“Right now, we’re not planning to offer it,” said Troy Dannen, the athletic director at Northern Iowa, which signed the letter. “There’s a lot of us waiting to see how it plays out.”

Athletic directors at other colleges had similar answers. Without more of a commitment, triathlon could face the same fate as women’s archery, badminton, squash or handball, all former emerging sports that never caught on.

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