Thursday, October 21, 2010

Soccer player Heather Mitts PICS87

AP Sports WriteBeach volleyball could be heading back toAn NCAA committee voted this month to add sand volleyball to a list of women's sports being considered for intercollegiate competition. The sport, known on the professional and Olympic levels as beach volleyball, could be under NCAA auspices as soon as 2009-10.
"It's a very exciting development, and it's certainly an acknowledgment that there's substantial growth in popularity in beach volleyball," said Leonard Armato, the commissioner of the domestic pro tour. "I think it's going to be an easy transition for the schools, and there's going to be lots of girls that want to play."Although it spun off from the indoor game almost a century ago, beach volleyball didn't get competitive until after World War II, and it was first recognized as an Olympic sport in 1996. After the 2004 Games in Athens, when American women won the gold and bronze medals, the AVP recorded 48 percent growth in its fan base."I would imagine a similar spike, no pun intended, after the Beijing Games," Armato said. "Especially since we have the two gold medal favorites."
For college students, beach volleyball is more likely to conjure images of boozy spring break parties than cheering on their school. Colleges sometimes send their indoor, or "court volleyball," teams to beach-format events in the spring, but the informal events are more a way to spice up their practices than a hardcore competition"I know the student-athletes loved it," said Delaware volleyball coach Bonnie Kenny, who helped present the proposal to the NCAA's Committee on Women's Athletics. "It was a different aspect of training. And you were outside."Kenny brought her team to a sand tournament in Rochester, N.Y., this spring, even though, as any geography professor on campus could tell her, Rochester is not exactly a beach destination. In fact, many beach volleyball competitions are far from the water; the AVP tour even sponsored a "Hot Winter Nights" circuit last offseason that played the outdoor game indoors in places like La Crosse, Wis., Omaha, Neb., and Oklahoma City.
In recognition of that, the NCAA committee decided to label the sport "sand volleyball" instead of "beach volleyball.""They felt that the term 'beach' might limit the number of schools that would even think about the sport," said Kathy DeBoer, the executive director of the American Volleyball Coaches Association. "Sand volleyball is a friendlier phrase for the masses that would be considering playing the sport but might not be in coastal areas."
DeBoer said sand volleyball athletes could be enrolling in school as soon as next year, and competing in the spring of 2010. But several steps remain before schools can line up against each other.This week's vote by the Committee on Women's Athletics recommended that the NCAA's three divisions put the sport on the "emerging sports for women" list. Division II agreed; Division III rejected the proposal; Division I will consider it at its October meeting.
If it gets past the division's governing bodies, the NCAA membership will vote on it in January. Then there's even more work to be done.
BeachVolleyball.jpgAs it's played on the professional circuits, beach volleyball is closer to an individual sport than a team sport, with two-person pairs that stay together like a doubles tennis team. The NCAA would want to come up with a format that allows the schools to compete more as teams.Then, schools would have to hire coaches, recruit athletes and build courts to train and compete on."Because of the nature of sand volleyball, the cost of the facilities you're looking at is not the same as having to build a boathouse, or a field for a team," DeBoer said. "We think all those things will give it positive momentum."
Indoor volleyball is the No. 2 women's sport in the NCAA, second only to basketball, with 992 of the 1,064 member schools fielding teams.
Adding sand volleyball to the "emerging sports for women" list is an intermediate step for a sport that means it's been sanctioned as a sport but not widespread enough to qualify for its own NCAA championship. Bowling, rowing, ice hockey and water polo began on the emerging sports list but have since spread to the 40 schools necessary to stage a championship.
The proposal was supported by the U.S. Olympic Committee; USA Volleyball, the sport's national governing body; several NCAA conferences and the athletic directors or presidents of 12 schools, as well as the AVP. Armato wrote that American beach volleyball players are at a disadvantage in international competitions because they usually don't play competitively until after their indoor career runs its course in college."If you want to play professional volleyball in the United States, you've got to play on the AVP Croc's Tour," he said. "And it has to be on the beach."
Soccer player Heather Mitts
Soccer player Heather Mitts
Soccer player Heather Mitts
Soccer player Heather Mitts
Soccer player Heather Mitts
Soccer player Heather Mitts

No comments:

Post a Comment