Triathlons, an up and coming sport for women at the collegiate level.
To date, the USA Triathlon association reports that there are over 150 club programs throughout the country but this would elevate the sport to a new level (Brown, 2013). While the sport has seen most of its growth in the last 20 years with representation from every age group from youth to seniors, the most under represented age group is that amongst college aged students (2012 USA triathlon, 2013).
With resources afforded to college athletics, colleges and universities would seem to be an ideal place to participate in such a sport. The mindset of balancing a healthy mind with a healthy body seems very prevalent amongst colleges and universities. There is also the notion of encouraging lifelong involvement in physical activity. While involvement in all disciplines is ideal, chances are that a competitor will remain active in a least one and hopefully continue a healthy lifestyle.
More than a dozen NCAA member schools participated in the Collegiate Club Triathlon at Lake Lure in North Carolina on March 31st, 2012. This was done as an exhibition to show college and universities that adding triathlons to their athletic inventory is possible. While having a lack of facilities and costs seem to be the biggest obstacles, adding triathlons is feasible. While many schools do not have access to lakes or some type of waterfront, generally speaking, most institutions of higher education do have pools which can be used for the collegiate format. Schools are also not expected to close off whole towns for the bike or run portion. In most cases, the school's campus will work for the bike and the run. Therefore many advocates do not see facilities as an obstacle.
A major obstacle being related to cost is the expense of the bike. The schools that have signed the letters of support are in agreement that athletes would be expected to buy their own bikes or a portion of the bicycle (Brown, 2012). Luckily with the proposed collegiate format, bicycles would be regular road bikes and not the expensive or customized bikes that are seen on the elite and professional level of participation. The participating schools look to treat triathlons like all other sports in regards to the bike. In most cases, athletes would be given a budget and expected to kick in the rest in order to acquire an acceptable bike.
While adding a sport to a school's roster would be an added expense, plans have been made to try and raise money during the participation of the triathlon (Brown, 2013). It has been proposed that universities host a triathlon for the general public utilizing the non-draft legal format for the typical cost of $75-$100 and when it is done, schools would run their collegiate race and have built in spectators and fan base. Typically, this is not how other sports acquire the funds needed but it is worth the effort in order to accomplish the goal of adding this sport to a school line-up. It should be noted that triathlons at the collegiate level would be very different than those at the professional level. The NCAA has proposed that they last somewhere in the neighborhood of between 60 and 90 minutes depending on the distances used. Different distances have been proposed which include 600 meters to 1k for the swim portion, 20-30k for the bike and 4-6k for the run (Brown, 2012)
The NCAA requires at least 40 varsity programs in order to seek championship sport status amongst the division (Brown, 2013). Several schools amongst the different divisions have shown support for this emerging sport but Legislative Committees for all three divisions will convene in January of 2014 in order to consider the proposal. It is possible that there could be adoption as early as January of 2014.
Note: Monica Pazmino is an associate professor in the Department of Health and Human Performance (formerly known as Exercise, Sport, and Health Education) at Radford University.
Brown, G. (2013, May 9). CWA asks to add triathlon as an emerging sport. Retrieved from http://www.ncaa.org/wps/wcm/ connect/public/NCAA/Resources/Latest News/2013/May/ CWA asks to add triathlon as an emerging sport
Brown, G. (2012, August 29). To draft or not to draft. Retrieved from http://www.ncaa.org/wps/wcm/connect/public/NCAA/ Resources/Latest News/2012/August/To draft or not to draft
Brown, G. (2012, August 9). Triathlon poised to be the next emerging sport for women. Retrieved from http://www. ncaa.org/wps/wcm/connect/public/NCAA/Resources/Latest News/2012/August/Triathlon poised to be the next emerging sport for women
2012 USAtriathlon demographics report. (2013, April). Retrieved from http://www.usatriathlon.org/about-multisport/ demographics.aspx Retrieved from http://www.usatriathlon. org/news/articles/2013/2/021913-collegiate-faqs.aspx
Monica Pazmino-Cevallos, PhD, Radford University, Associate Professor, Department of Health and Human Performance
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|Date:||Sep 22, 2013|
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