The Coastal Collegiate Swimming Association (CCSA) is set to make two announcements at 2pm Eastern today. Sources tell SwimSwam that one of the changes is that the “S” in CCSA will now represent “Sports”, and, that this alteration is due to the second announcement, that of the association adding the sport of women’s sand volleyball to the conference.
Observers within the conference believe that developing into a multi-sport conference will add legitimacy. While the full list of schools that will join in sand volleyball will be announced at 2PM Eastern, a sneak preview indicates that will include some very recognizable athletics programs from the NCAA’s “power 5” conferences.
The CCSA is a swimming and diving-only NCAA Division 1 athletic conference, composed primarily of member schools located along the Atlantic Coast, but whose primary conferences don’t support swimming. A total of 13 members across four conferences – Atlantic Sun Conference, Big South Conference, Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference and South Conference – compete within the CCSA, which was founded in 2007.
Current men’s swimming and diving schools within the conference include Florida Atlantic, Gardner-Webb, Howard, Incarnate Word, UMBC, NJIT, Old Dominion and VMI. Women’s programs include Campbell, Florida Gulf Coast, Gardner-Webb, Georgia Southern, Howard, Incarnate Word, Liberty, North Carolina A&T, North Florida, UNC Asheville and VMI. Historically, Florida Gulf Coast has been the dominate swimming powerhouse on the women’s side, while the men saw a 4-year winning streak by Davidson College, who has since left the CCSA as of 2014. Last year’s UMBC men’s squad took home the CCSA trophy.
As for sand volleyball, the sport was approved to come into the Championships NCAA Division I fold as of October 2014, and subsequently approved for Division II and Division III in January of this year. This was after the NCAA decided back in 2010 that sand volleyball should be added to its list of ‘emerging sports for women’, effective 2011. The sport made its collegiate debut in March of 2012, with colleges around the nation slowly adding the sport to its portfolio. Currently, there are 47 Division I schools offering a women’s sand volleyball program. These programs offer good value, as most of the athletes can overlap with court volleyball players.
Florida Gulf Coast and Florida Atlantic are two CCSA schools who already have women’s beach volleyball programs in place.