KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) has elevated the sport of bowling to emerging sport status. The move by one of the nation's governing bodies for collegiate sports and leader in small college athletics puts bowling on the path to becoming a championship sport for dozens of colleges and universities.
"This is a fantastic development for bowling student-athletes," United States Bowling Congress Collegiate Manager Gary Brown said. "We have crossed a key threshold on the path to bowling becoming an NAIA championship sport."
Bowling reached emerging sport status when 25 or more NAIA member institutions declared to participate for the 2010-2011 academic year. The sport will now serve a one year provisional period and must certify eligibility for participating student-athletes. This period will not include official national championship competition, however a coaches association will be established to develop policies and procedures. Following the provisional period the coaches association may organize an NAIA invitational event, a defined requirement in order for the sport to gain championship sport status.
In addition to a successful invitational event, 50 or more institutions would need to declare participation in order to complete the final requirement for bowling to reach championship sport status. Currently 27 men's and 29 women's bowling programs compete at NAIA member institutions.
Union has sponsored bowling as an intercollegiate sport since the 2008-09 season.
"Collegiate bowling has grown in popularity and our members are excited about how this sport will add to the competitive sports experience offered to young men and women competing in the NAIA," said Lori Thomas, NAIA Vice President for Championships. "I would like to thank the United States Bowling Congress for their work to grow intercollegiate bowling. We look forward to a collaborative partnership."
In the past season, USBC Collegiate has facilitated an overall growth of more than 16 percent in the number of institutions with bowling programs nationwide. In addition to the NAIA, the sport of bowling is now recognized by the National Collegiate Athletic Association and the National Junior College Athletic Association.
The NAIA has more than 60,000 student-athletes participating at nearly 300 member colleges and universities throughout the United States and Canada. Divided into 25 conferences and the Association of Independent Institutions, the NAIA offers 23 championships in 13 sports.
All NAIA bowling programs are members of USBC Collegiate, including the
reigning women's USBC Intercollegiate Team Champion, Webber
(Fla.), and runner-up McKendree (Ill.).
Other women's NAIA teams that advanced to the 2010 ITCs from the NAIA include Pikeville (Ky.), Lindenwood (Mo.), Robert Morris-Illinois and St. Ambrose (Iowa). On the men's side, McKendree, Robert Morris-Illinois, Lindenwood, Webber International and the runner-up for the national title, Calumet College of St. Joseph (Ind.), are NAIA members. To learn more about emerging sports in the NAIA visit www.NAIA.org. To learn more about USBC visit www.BOWL.com.
Story provided by the NAIA.