INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- The NCAA Committee on Women's Athletics has recommended that all three divisions of the NCAA governance structure add the sport of acrobatics and tumbling to the NCAA Emerging Sports for Women program. If adopted, the sport would join the program Aug. 1, 2020.
"Receiving news that acrobatics and tumbling is getting backing to become an NCAA emerging sport is very exciting," Head Acrobatics and Tumbling Coach Emily Powers said. "It shows that we are moving in the right direction and will continue to give opportunities to female athletes. It's also rewarding knowing the establishment of Belmont Abbey acrobatics and tumbling was an integral part of making this happen. I am excited for what the future holds for our student-athletes and sport!"
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.
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.
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.