9 answers

Why don’t colleges support extreme sports?

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The skateboarding and surfing industry is expanding endlessly, and almost all colleges continue to support team sports, while starting a Surf team is difficult at most universities. Skateboarding and surfing will be in the olympics soon as well. #sports #skateboarding #surfing #athletics #recruitment #college-recruiting #college-athletics

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9 answers

Makenzie’s Answer

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Fantastic question, Trevor. I was a student athlete in college for an unusual sport at UT- Austin (Rowing). The primary reason my sport exists at UT is because of Title IX regulations, as someone previously mentioned.

Simply put, Title IX enforces an equal number/ balance of male and female student athletes. Because UT is a huge football school with a large football team, they must include more women's sports to balance the ratio of male to female student athletes. This is why we have women's soccer, and not men's, and why we have a volleyball and rowing team. Most Power 5 universities have this- which is why you see more eccentric women's sports than men's (i.e. more women's soccer, volleyball, rowing, etc).

Most universities will prioritize the sports mentioned above (plus a few more) over extreme sports because of the lower resources, cost, and higher popularity compared to extreme sports. Money comes from donors (who mostly give their money to fund the most popular sports) and the revenue that comes from the school's most profitable sports (football, basketball ticket sales at UT for example) to fund other sports.

An extreme sport, like skateboarding, would require an entire facility to be built for practices. When comparing the cost of building a new facility versus buying a few pieces of equipment (for example, rowing would mostly need boats, oars, and rowing machines), equipment cost is far less. If you compare building a volleyball facility or soccer field versus a skatepark, you'll probably pick the sport that would have more fans to bring in more revenue.

Hopefully gives you a sense of collegiate sports and helps answer your question- I'm with you, though! I hope colleges will begin thinking about adding some new sports that are becoming more and more popular. Surfing would be really cool!

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Eric’s Answer

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Trevor,
I am not sure of a one way answer. I have six years of being an Director of Student Activities which fulfill the role of an Athletic Direct. My role was researching and supporting the students with facts about certain sports. Here are the major factor to consider:
1) Other student who are interested in this sport?
2) Are there any clubs that have this as an activity on campus?
3) What do campus policy say about skate boarding or out in the ocean? For those institutions this applies for.
4) Insurance police: who will cover this individual or institution
5) What other sports have the highest insurance coverage and why? And where would skateboard or surfing fit in this clause /proposal?
6) Surfing has its on rules. Have to consider life guards, physical fitness, etc.

However, I am for students bonding together and fellowship of with a sport. I think if students want to do this and this will help increase student retention, explore laws of physics and support physical fitness then it’s worth looking into. I also believe in educating about this sport (skateboarding) as in a class to bring up the awareness and the dangers. However, what sport isn’t dangerous. I played in high school, college, and professional and at each level I have seen some events that has been very damaging. However, practice and preparation has decreased my injuries and my training also but I think this method can be applied to any sport but education is the way!

Check this out:
www.ncaa.org/about/resources/http://www.ncaa.org/about/resources media-center/news/committee-women-s-athletics-supports-division-iii-equestrian-proposal

I hope this helps and great question!
Coach E
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Dave’s Answer

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There are a couple of big issues in adding extreme sports.

1. Most colleges are looking to add sports (if they are willing to add sports at all, some schools are dropping them) that are already sponsored by high schools within their recruiting areas, so you probably won't see extreme sports at the college level until you see them proliferate at the high school level.

2. Extreme sports are, in my opinion after 20 years in college athletics, increasingly popular because they are participant rather than coach/youth club/parent driven. But without coaches, clubs, and political infrastructure, it's tough to campaign to have your high school add skateboarding or whatever as a sport. Not only that, having a high school extreme sports team would really change the dynamic in terms of these sports... so even participants in these sports are somewhat leery of "joining the mainstream."

Until there is a grass roots push to add these sports, few Athletic Directors, who have no background in them and are risk averse, are going to want to stick their necks out.
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Tariq’s Answer

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I would say that one factor to consider is that skateboarding is still a relatively new sport, so there is a lack of recognition simply from its age as compared to more popular sports. I also believe the lack of support from institutions stems from the fact that a lot of skaters tend not to persue higher education, and extreme sports have a smaller amount of participants. One solution is to join/create more skateboarding clubs on college campuses for students to pique their interests.

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Cecilia’s Answer

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Hi Trevor!
Good question! I had friends of friends that participated in the xgames and I myself considered trying to be a part of it years ago, but like you, I didn't see how it would be possible as there was not a college team or club I could join to grow my skills. So, I gave up on the thought. I now see how Xtreme sports continues to grow and your question is on point. I think that the "Xtreme" part is what keeps most colleges away. I think that concerns with insurance, liability, facilities and cost have everything to do with it not being picked up. Maybe once its in the Olympics things will be different. I'd keep an eye on it. In the meantime, have you been able to start a club for these to see the level of interest and access?
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Anthony’s Answer

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Trevor, I don't work for a college and I skipped college sport and went straight to professional sport so I can't speak to this question directly - with that said - I do specialize in influence. I don't necessarily believe that your question is the best question to ask because the answer doesn't get you any closer to adding extreme sports to college (which I assume is the ultimate goal). If I were you I'd ask "how can we include more extreme sports in colleges?" In this case, the NCAA has guidelines for Emerging Sports - specifically for women (Title IX).


http://www.ncaa.org/about/resources/inclusion

Anthony recommends the following next steps:

  • Contact the Office of Inclusion and ask about the process to add an emerging sport.
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Julie’s Answer

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Extreme sports have just begun to be on the international scope. They are high injury sports and can only support the young (golf and tennis are examples of sports done by most of the population). This limits the number of participants. While gaining in popularity they have not established themselves with the NCAA. First a sport must become "emerging" and support a minimum number of programs in colleges. Then it can request actual NCAA status. The NCAA is not supporting too many sports that are male dominated as college sports have an over abundance of male domination and male funding (mostly due to football not having a female equivalent). Could happen but it will take a number of years and the work of a lot of volunteers. Stay tuned!

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Ian’s Answer

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Some colleges offer skateboarding, longboarding, outdoor games and surfing as an elective or minor. Also check into intramurals at your college/university. Look more coastal for surfing to be part of a colleges academics or sports department.

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Joel’s Answer

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Mostly because of money. At this point those sports don’t bring added value or $ to programs that are already breaking even. Only football brings in money. Basketball brings in some and those pay for all other programs.

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