The NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics (CWA) is charged with identifying and managing progress of emerging sports for women. An emerging sport is a women’s sport recognized by the NCAA that is intended to help schools provide more athletics opportunities for women, more sport sponsorship options for institutions and help that sport achieve NCAA championship status.
When the NCAA adopted the recommendations of the Gender-Equity Task Force in 1994, one of the recommendations was the creation of the list of emerging sports for women. Nine sports were on that first list. In the past 21 years, some have become championship sports (beach volleyball, rowing, ice hockey, water polo and bowling), while others have been added to or removed from the list. Bylaws require that emerging sports must gain championship status (minimum 40 varsity NCAA programs for individual and team sports; with the exception of Division III requiring only 28 varsity programs for team sports) within 10 years or show steady progress toward that goal to remain on the list. Institutions are allowed to use emerging sports to help meet the membership minimum sports sponsorship requirements and, in Divisions I and II, minimum financial aid requirements.
Sports do not have to be NCAA championship or emerging sports to be varsity, nor does such status mean the institution's conduct of the sport meets Office for Civil Rights or Title IX standards for varsity sports.
To generate a list of schools that sponsor a particular emerging sport, click here.
Learn more about current NCAA Championship and Emerging Sports for Women:
- Business Week article - Triathlon as an Emerging Sport (includes student-athlete video)
- Triathlon Discussion Document
- The triathlon community made a two-hour presentation to the CWA regarding information related to the proposal and the sport's potential to grow women's opportunities and provide institutions with a new sponsorship option. An edited version of the video can be viewed here.
- Sample Triathlon Event budget
- Sample Triathlon program budget
- Triathlon by the Numbers
- Women’s Rugby Surges, Especially on Campus - NY Times, April 16, 2010
- National Collegiate Equestrian Association (NCEA)
For Trends in Women’s Sports Sponsorship: NCAA Sports Sponsorship and Participation Rates Report
For Trends in High School Participation visit: National Federation of State High School Associations