The Arizona Wildcats are adding a new sport that will debut in the spring of 2014 — women’s sand volleyball.
Sand volleyball is gaining in popularity, boosted by Olympic exposure and the star United States team of Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings, which won three gold medals. And it’s a fast-growing college sport, having made its debut in the 2011-12 school year.
The NCAA allows a total of six scholarships for the sport, which can be split among the roster. Sand volleyball helps keep Arizona in compliance with the gender equity required by Title IX and provides a sport that should be a lot of fun to catch under the Tucson sun from March to May.
What’s not to like?
There will be 29 teams competing in sand volleyball this season — including Cal, Stanford, UCLA and USC from the Pac-12 — with another 47 considering adding the sport for the 2014 season, according to a UA release.
Just last week, Nebraska became the first Big 12 program from the Big Ten to sponsor sand volleyball.