The NCAA, the organization that presides over college athletics in the United States, is welcoming a partnership with USA Triathlon to help grow the sport among female student athletes. The NCAA has been looking for ways to lessen the disparity of female versus male student athletes. Currently, men make up 56.6% of NCAA student athletes. The NCAA has tried to further this initiative with team handball, archery, and synchronized swimming. The NCAA has requirements for new sports to gain “Championship” status, specifically that 40 Division 1 schools and 23 Division 2 and 3 schools must create varsity teams within 10 years. Failing to reach that benchmark is why the NCAA formally recommended the removal of equestrian as an official collegiate sport in 2012.
To help make the inclusion of triathlons an enduring success, USA Triathlon is committing $2.6 million in grants to colleges and universities the form women’s triathlon teams. Schools will submit an application, and once approved they’ll receive up to $140,000 over four years to fund their program. The hope is that financial backing will ensure success. USA Triathlon is certainly a profitable organization, based in part on the demographics of triathletes. Adults with disposable income are willing to pay the commonly $100 entry fee for an event. Coupled with the growth of the professional circuit, USA Triathlon has money they can confidently reinvest in the sport.
USA Triathlon expects college events to benefit the triathlon community in immediate ways. When a college-level event is happening in an nearby area, you’ll be able to compete as well. The amateur participants will follow the competitors after an appropriate delay, similar to how the amateurs begin well after the professionals during the New York City Marathon. This model of open registration will help fund the expensive equipment associated with triathlon.
The endeavor will accomplish several important goals: provide more athletic opportunities for young women and help grow triathlons even more.