The NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics has recommended that all three divisions of the NCAA governance structure add acrobatics and tumbling as well as women’s wrestling to the NCAA Emerging Sports for Women program. If adopted, the sports would join the program August 1, 2020.
“This is a huge opportunity for both acrobatics and tumbling as well as women’s wrestling as the future of these sports will increase opportunities for many young female athletes,” commented interim athletic director Dee Nichols. “We are excited to see the advancement and growth of both of these programs.”
The committee identifies sports to be added to the Emerging Sports for Women program, which is a pipeline supporting the advancement of women’s sports to NCAA championship status. The program also provides athletics opportunities for women and sport-sponsorship options for colleges and universities. Schools also may use an emerging sport to help meet membership minimum sports-sponsorship requirements and financial aid requirements.
A sport must have a minimum of 20 varsity teams and/or competitive club teams that have competed in a minimum of five contests to be considered for the emerging sports program. The sport must reach 40 varsity programs to move forward to the NCAA governance structure for championship consideration.
“This is a huge milestone for our sport as it has been 10 years in the making,” said Acrobatics and Tumbling Coach Amber King. “This is a huge step forward for all the administrators, coaches and student athletes who have laid the groundwork and continue to invest in this sport. It’s exciting that within a year of PC adding this new program we have reached the NCAA status as well as so much history is happening within our sport and program at Presbyterian. We are thrilled to keep marching forward and creating opportunities for young women here at PC.”
The National Collegiate Acrobatics and Tumbling Association currently has 29 NCAA colleges and universities sponsoring the sport, which is a discipline of gymnastics involving tumbling, tosses, acrobatic lifts and pyramids.
The Committee on Women’s Athletics commended acrobatics and tumbling for showing how its student-athletes already were integrated fully within athletics departments; how they are enjoying experiences comparable to those of other NCAA student-athletes; and how the sport could grow.
Acrobatics & Tumbling was developed to provide fair and safe opportunities for young women to compete at the varsity intercollegiate level in skill sets primarily developed through youth participation in all disciplines of gymnastics or in cheerleading.
“This is an exciting time for women’s wrestling. Having the support of the NCAA will hopefully encourage more Universities to take the step towards adding more programs,” commented head women’s wrestling coach Dany DeAnda. “This will also give young females the opportunity to compete at every level in what is the fastest growing women's sports in America right now. PC was on the forefront of this movement when they made the decision to add women's wrestling and become the first Division I program. We look forward to the continued growth of women's wrestling at the NCAA level.”
The Wrestle Like a Girl organization, in conjunction with USA Wrestling, indicated there are 23 NCAA schools currently sponsoring the sport. The committee applauded the groups for the overall continued growth of women’s wrestling, and specifically for the potential growth of the sport at colleges and universities that currently sponsor men’s wrestling.
They also noted the relatively low cost to sponsor women’s wrestling and the organizations’ commitment to increasing opportunities for a more diverse student-athlete base and to expanding coaching opportunities for women.
The Emerging Sports for Women program has been in existence since 1994. In the past 21 years, several sports have reached championship status, including beach volleyball, rowing, ice hockey, water polo and bowling. The program currently has three sports: equestrian, rugby and triathlon.