University of San Francisco Becomes Fifth NCAA Division I Women’s Triathlon Program in Nation

By USA Triathlon | Jan. 19, 2018, 10:33 a.m. (ET)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — USA Triathlon today announced that the University of San Francisco will add women’s triathlon as a varsity sport beginning in the fall of 2019, becoming the 23rd varsity program nationwide and the fifth at the NCAA Division I level. 

USF joins Arizona State University (Tempe, Ariz.), East Tennessee State University (Johnson City, Tenn.), the University of South Dakota (Vermillion, S.D.) and Wagner College (Staten Island, N.Y.) in fielding NCAA Division I teams. It is also the first school on the West Cost to offer the sport; previously, Arizona State University and Colorado Mesa University (Grand Junction, Colo.) were the two westernmost schools.

Deemed an NCAA Emerging Sport for Women in 2014, triathlon has a 10-year window to demonstrate sustainability as an NCAA sport option. USA Triathlon is more than halfway to its goal of reaching 40 schools by 2024 — and its momentum is growing, with eight new programs announced since mid-October. 

“USA Triathlon is proud to welcome the University of San Francisco as the fifth NCAA Division I women’s triathlon team in the nation,” said Rocky Harris, CEO at USA Triathlon and a USF alumnus. “We are pleased to see increased competitive opportunities becoming available to student-athletes at the DI level — and having earned my master’s degree at USF, I can attest to the school’s tremendous academic value in addition to its culture of excellence in athletics.”

Women’s triathlon will be the 17th varsity sport offered at USF. The team will begin competing at the club level during the 2018-19 academic year, and will enter varsity competitions starting in the fall of 2019. 

“We are proud to announce the addition of a women's triathlon team here at USF. Triathlon is a rapidly growing sport in the United States, as well as internationally, and we are in a perfect location in San Francisco to take advantage of the natural resources available to us to train and compete,” said USF Athletic Director Scott Sidwell. “Our continued commitment to gender equality, as outlined in our equity operating plan, is aligned with our mission of being a leading Jesuit Catholic institution with global reach and impact. The addition of this sport is another great way of honoring the trailblazers in our institution's history in this, the 45th anniversary year, of Title IX legislation.”

The addition of a women’s triathlon program at USF was made possible through a grant from the USA Triathlon Foundation. The USA Triathlon Foundation Women’s Emerging Sport Grant is distributed to select NCAA membership institutions to develop, implement and sustain women’s triathlon programs at the NCAA varsity level.

“We are pleased to accept the USA Triathlon grant to develop an NCAA women's triathlon program. The addition of women's triathlon complements our highly successful women's cross country and track programs,” said Joan McDermott, Deputy Athletic Director and Senior Women Administrator at USF. “It demonstrates our continued commitment to enhancing and expanding our women's athletic program. We are excited to serve as a pioneer and look forward to leading the way at the Division I level in establishing women's triathlon as an NCAA Emerging Sport.” 

Women’s triathlon is a fall sport, and the varsity season includes three regional qualifiers followed by the Women’s Collegiate Triathlon National Championship. Athletes race over sprint-distance courses covering a 750-meter open water swim, draft-legal 20-kilometer bike, and 5-kilometer run.

For more information about triathlon as an NCAA Emerging Sport for Women, visit usatriathlon.org/ncaa. For questions regarding varsity collegiate women’s triathlon events and programming, contact Jessica Welk at Jessica.welk@usatriathlon.org.

Women’s Varsity Collegiate Triathlon Programs as of Jan. 19, 2017:

NCAA Division I 

Arizona State University (Tempe, Ariz.)
East Tennessee State University (Johnson City, Tenn.)
University of San Francisco (San Francisco, Calif.)
University of South Dakota (Vermillion, S.D.)
Wagner College (Staten Island, N.Y.)

NCAA Division II
Belmont Abbey College (Belmont, N.C.)
Black Hills State University (Spearfish, S.D.)
Colorado Mesa University (Grand Junction, Colo.)
Daemen College (Amherst, N.Y.)
Davis & Elkins College (Elkins, W.V.)
Drury University (Springfield, Mo.)
St. Thomas Aquinas College (Sparkill, N.Y.)
Southern Wesleyan University (Central, S.C.)
University of West Alabama (Livingston, Ala.)

NCAA Division III

Centenary College of Louisiana (Shreveport, La.)
Concordia University Wisconsin (Mequon, Wis.)
Johnson State College (Johnson, Vt.)
Marymount University (Arlington, Va.)
Millikin University (Decatur, Ill.)
Milwaukee School of Engineering (Milwaukee, Wis.)
North Central College (Naperville, Ill.)
Transylvania University (Lexington, Ky.)
Trine University (Angola, Ind.)

About USA Triathlon

USA Triathlon is proud to serve as the National Governing Body for triathlon, as well as duathlon, aquathlon, aquabike, winter triathlon, off-road triathlon and paratriathlon in the United States. Founded in 1982, USA Triathlon sanctions more than 4,300 races and connects with nearly 500,000 members each year, making it the largest multisport organization in the world. In addition to its work with athletes, coaches, and race directors on the grassroots level, USA Triathlon provides leadership and support to elite athletes competing at international events, including International Triathlon Union (ITU) World Championships, Pan American Games and the Olympic and Paralympic Games. USA Triathlon is a proud member of the ITU and the United States Olympic Committee (USOC).