Long Beach State to offer Sand Volleyball as a varsity sport this spring
Sept. 15, 2011
Long Beach, Calif. - Long Beach State Athletics will offer the schools' 19th varsity sport beginning this spring, as the 49ers will be part of the NCAA's effort to introduce Sand Volleyball this spring.
The NCAA has approved sand volleyball as an "emerging sport" based on a number of factors, not the least of which is that it will provide an opportunity for more scholarships to college through college athletics, as well as an opportunity to continue to compete in the sport following college.
A large part of Long Beach State's decision to participate in the sport is for the chance to increase the sport's visibility, as well as provide additional opportunities for athletes to participate in Division I athletics.
"I feel like sand volleyball is going to be very successful as a collegiate sport," said head coach Brian Gimmillaro. "Its popularity will only grow as more people are exposed to it. So many people enjoy playing sand volleyball, and there is a true interest from an already existing fan base."
Long Beach State will offer the sport with limited additional costs and no need to immediate need to increase revenue, as the 49ers women's volleyball coaches will serve as the staff for sand volleyball, while Long Beach State's current players will be able to play both sports, similar to how many athletes participate in both cross country and track and field.
"One of our goals is to see Long Beach State win the first national championship in sand volleyball," said Tara Roenicke, a former junior world champion with the FIVB in beach volleyball. "I want to play sand volleyball, and having it here at Long Beach State was perfect for me. It's back near home. It's by the beach. It has everything."
The addition of Sand Volleyball will also help ensure Long Beach State's continuing commitment to Title IX and gender equity by increasing the opportunities for female student-athletes at the Division I level.