NJCAA Adds Four More Emerging Sports
The National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Board of Regents has voted to formally recognize four sports – competitive cheer (co-ed), clay target shooting (co-ed), men's volleyball and women's wrestling – as emerging sports within the association, starting the process that could eventually make them full-fledged varsity sports.
Programs will be permitted to field teams beginning in the fall of 2021 under the recognized emerging sport distinction. There will not be an NJCAA championship opportunity during the 2021-22 academic year; however, teams will have the opportunity to participate in various season-ending events, whether through the sport's national governing body or another organization.
The timeline to begin NJCAA championships will vary based on sport, depending on participation.
The NJCAA will form sport committees for competitive cheer, clay target shooting, men's volleyball and women's wrestling in preparation for the 2021-22 academic year. These committees will be tasked with navigating all areas of strategic planning for the emerging sports, including trends in sponsorship, commitment periods, sports procedures and recommended timelines.
The adoption of the four emerging sports follows the NJCAA's addition of beach volleyball in April 2018. Prior to beach volleyball, the association last added half-marathon and women's lacrosse in 2003-04. The NJCAA currently sponsors 28 sports across three divisions with 52 national championship events.
"Athletics is a vital driver of enrollment for many NJCAA member colleges," says Dr. Christopher Parker, NJCAA president and CEO. “The addition of these four sports will also provide a pathway to increase opportunities for student-athletes around the country."
Each of the new emerging sports have garnered interest amongst NJCAA member colleges as club sports in recent years. Survey results from NJCAA membership showed an interest from membership in declaring for each of the sports, with enough programs planning to begin programs over the next three years to sustain sponsored sport status.