July 9, 2010
New Orleans - Tulane Director of Athletics Rick Dickson announced today the addition of women's bowling and women's sand volleyball as the final two sports in bringing the Green Wave's Athletics Department back into compliance with 16 Division I programs. Both programs will begin competition in 2011-12.
"Most significantly, the addition of these last two sport offerings will complete the Re-instatement Plan for Tulane Athletics," Dickson said. "This completes five years of dedicated work on behalf of our staff to bring Tulane back in compliance with NCAA requirements for Division I. Today marks a momentous time in our history- one which many doubted could occur five years ago- and is another testament of the resolve of Tulane in rebuilding our entire community."
Women's bowling is considered a winter sport and there are currently 33 Division I schools that sponsor women's bowling, including in-state schools Louisiana Tech, Southern and Grambling State. Other notable schools include Nebraska, Vanderbilt and Arkansas State. Fairleigh Dickinson upended defending champion Nebraska to capture the 2010 National Collegiate Women's Bowling Championship. The Green Wave bowling team will compete at New Orleans' world famous Rock `N' Bowl (3000 S. Carrollton Ave.).
"Rock `N' Bowl is thrilled to be a part of the Tulane bowling program," Rock `N' Bowl owner John Blancher said. "Tulane University is a very important component of the New Orleans community and we feel that the combination of Rock `N' Bowl and Tulane University can make a major impact on the decisions of great bowlers to participate at Tulane and coming to New Orleans.
Under NCAA guidelines, the general rules do not limit the number of team members or players who may participate in a match. However, five players must be listed on the lineup sheet information to begin a game/match. Two lanes immediately adjoining each other should be used in each match of a competition between the two schools.
Women's sand volleyball was recently recognized by NCAA Division I and II schools as an emerging sport for women, effective August 2010 for Division II and effective August 2011 for Division I, and will be played during the spring season. The Green Wave will play a minimum of eight contests, at least three of which are duals, maximum of 16 dates of competition.
"The decision by Tulane to add Sand Volleyball, an NCAA Emerging Sport certain to be very popular, is both smart and progressive," said Kathy DeBoer, executive director of the American Volleyball Coaches Association. "Rather than adding a traditional sport that would struggle to catch up with established programs, Tulane will now be a leader in building a new sport."
Format for intercollegiate play is similar to college tennis doubles. A sand volleyball competition will consist of five doubles teams competing in a flighted dual or tourney competition. The dual meet the winner will be the team winning three of the five matches. If a tournament competition, individual winners can be named in each flight and the team champion is the one scoring the most points in all five brackets combined.
Tulane's new sand volleyball squad will be coached by the Green Wave's current women's volleyball assistant coach Amy Williamson. A former Tulane assistant coach for six years, Momic recently completed his first season as the Wave's head coach in 2009 and led TU to an 18-10 overall record, including a 12-4 mark in Conference USA play, and to the school's second straight NCAA Tournament appearance.
"A sport like sand volleyball adds another dimension to our program and, hopefully, in another few years, we will have the opportunity to build another nationally competitive program," Momic said. "We are excited to have sand volleyball as an emerging sport at the NCAA Division I level and it should be a good recruiting tool for our program as a whole and help us attract players to our indoor program and bring in players that excel in the sand aspect of the game.
"The indoor squad and the sand volleyball team will probably be joint programs at first and after the first couple years we will see what type of model to use after that. Early on, we will probably have player's crossing over from the indoor season to outdoor discipline. It gives our program another dimension, along with eight to 10 more tournaments for our players to compete. It should help our indoor athletes to improve their skills by getting some more court time in the spring."
The reduction in programs was part of the university's Renewal Plan, a university-wide plan to strengthen and focus Tulane's academic mission and ensure financial stability following the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. As part of the Renewal Plan process, an ad hoc committee of the board was established to develop a plan to bring Tulane's athletics programs back into compliance with the NCAA's Division I membership criteria by the end of fiscal year 2011, consistent with a five-year exemption from the NCAA's requirement of fielding 16 sports.
The addition of these final two sports culminates Tulane's Renewal Plan which was announced in January of 2007 to return the Green Wave's athletic teams back to full strength and both women's bowling and women's sand volleyball completes the TU athletic department's equity plan that Tulane committed to as part of the NCAA certification process in 2001.
Over the past two years, the Tulane has phased six sports into full time service, including women's tennis, women's golf, men's outdoor track, men's cross country, men's tennis and women's swimming and diving.
"The selection of these two sports fit well for interests and abilities of our campus and community, and also completes our commitment to rebuilding a compliant and equitable Division I program," Dickson added.