The Community College of Rhode Island, the largest community college in New England, has announced the addition of 3 new sports to its offerings: beach volleyball, swimming, and esports. All 3 will start as self-funded club sports, with hopes of boosting swimming and beach volleyball to varsity sports in coming years.
The teams will play their first seasons as club programs, with hopes of beach volleyball and swimming joining the National Junior College Athletics Association (NJCAA) as early as 2020.
The NJCAA announced the addition of beach volleyball as a varsity sport in April of this year. The first season will begin in the spring of 2019, with the first national championship to be held in the spring of 2021. Beach volleyball becomes the 48th NJCAA sport.
Dean of students Michael Cunningham says that the sports fit better with with the new makeup of the student body. The school says that they’ve had a “nearly 50% increase” in recent high school graduates enrolling because of the Rhode Island Promise Scholarship, and they believe that the new offerings will improve attendance at sporting events.
“This is a more traditional college-age population looking for more currently popular and traditional activities,” Cunningham said. “That 18- to 19-year-old, traditional student population was a small percentage of what we had. Now it’s a bigger percentage of what we have. We had to ask ourselves, ‘Are we offering the right set of programs and opportunities for the current student body?’ We want people to be involved. We just have to reach more students than we’ve been reaching.”
The school also sponsors:
- women’s and men’s soccer
- men’s and women’s cross country
- women’s volleyball
- women’s and men’s basketball
- men’s and women’s indoor track
- men’s and women’s outdoor track
- women’s and men’s gold
- women’s softball
- men’s baseball