INDIANAPOLIS -- The NCAA® Beach Volleyball Committee selected the host site for the inaugural National Collegiate Beach Volleyball Championship. The NCAA’s 90th and newest National Championship will debut May 6-8, 2016 at the Gulf Shores Public Beach and will be hosted by the city of Gulf Shores, Alabama and Orange Beach Sports Commission.

The host institution for the inaugural beach volleyball championship will be the University of Alabama at Birmingham. The university and Gulf Shores have also been chosen as the hosts of the 2017 championship, which will be held May 5-7, 2017.

“We are thrilled to bring the very first NCAA Beach Volleyball Championship to Gulf Shores,” said Marilyn Moniz-Kaho’ohanohano, chair of the Beach Volleyball Committee and associate athletics director at University of Hawaii Manoa. “Gulf Shores provides a location where the sport originated ocean side and will provide a great experience for our student-athletes.”

Beach volleyball is the fastest-growing NCAA sport with 47 sponsoring schools. The addition of the beach volleyball championship will become the 45th NCAA championship administered for women. The championship will have an eight-team bracket that will be played in a double-elimination format with teams consisting of five pairs of female student-athletes.  After being placed on the list of emerging sports for women in 2009, beach volleyball is the fifth sport to succeed from the emerging sports program.

“We couldn’t be more excited to partner with the City of Gulf Shores, Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Sports Commission, USA Volleyball Gulf Coast Region and Hangout Music Festival Productions to host the very first NCAA championship for beach volleyball,” said Mark Ingram, director of athletics at University of Alabama at Birmingham. “This is an exciting time for the sport and for our program. We look forward to the opportunity and helping to make this a great event.”

No stranger to hosting large sporting events, Gulf Shores has hosted the AVCA Collegiate Sand Volleyball Championship since 2012.  

“The Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Sports Commission and Tourism Offices are beyond excited to continue our relationship with the Collegiate Beach Volleyball National Championship and to begin our partnership with the NCAA,” said Beth Gendler, vice president of sales for the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Tourism. “Our community has been supportive of this amazing sport for the four years the AVCA has hosted its championship here, and we are proud to help place the sport in the national spotlight even more as the NCAA begins conducting this championship.”

 As one of the world's leading manufacturers of high performance sports equipment the NCAA is also proud to announce that Wilson Sporting Goods Co. will provide the official ball for the beach volleyball championship as part of a three-year agreement.

“We have been a part of beach volleyball at the youth, amateur and pro levels for more than 30 years and are thrilled to see this sport move to a NCAA-sanctioned championship,” said Mike Kuehne, Wilson’s general manager. “Our new NCAA beach volleyball is reflective of our player-driven innovation process and our collaborative relationship with the NCAA and our beach volleyball advisory staff.”

The new Wilson NCAA Beach Volleyball has been designed with the insight and feedback from collegiate and professional beach volleyball players and coaches, including three-time Olympic gold medalist and Wilson advisory staff member Kerri Walsh Jennings.

 

For more information on the NCAA Beach Volleyball Championship, log on to NCAA.com/beachvolleyball.

 

About the NCAA

            The NCAA is a membership-led nonprofit association of colleges and universities committed to supporting academic and athletic opportunities for more than 460,000 student-athletes at more than 1,000 member colleges and universities. Each year, more than 54,000 student-athletes compete in NCAA championships in Divisions I, II and III sports. Visit www.ncaa.org and www.ncaa.com for more details about the Association, its goals and members and corporate partnerships that help support programs for student-athletes.  The NCAA is proud to have the following elite companies as official Corporate Champions—AT&T, Capital One and Coca-Cola—and the following elite companies as official Corporate Partners—Allstate, Bing (Microsoft), Buffalo Wild Wings, Buick (General Motors), Burger King, Enterprise, Infiniti, Kindle (Amazon), LG, Lowe’s, Nabisco (Mondelez), Northwestern Mutual, Reese’s (Hershey’s), Unilever and UPS.

 

About UAB

            Known for its innovative and interdisciplinary approach to education at both the graduate and undergraduate levels, the University of Alabama at Birmingham is an internationally renowned research university and academic medical center, as well as Alabama’s largest employer, with some 23,000 employees, and has an annual economic impact exceeding $5 billion on the state. The five pillars of UAB’s mission include education, research, patient care, community service and economic development. UAB is a two-time recipient of the prestigious Center for Translational Science Award. Learn more at www.uab.edu. UAB: Knowledge that will change your world.

 

About Gulf Shores

            For anyone who seeks a beach escape for a day or a lifetime, Gulf Shores is an uncomplicated beach community which makes it the perfect prescription for relaxed living.  The Alabama Gulf Coast combines the spectacular beaches of the Gulf of Mexico with year-round opportunities to connect with the natural environment, abundant activities, and unforgettable beach memories. Our destination and its beaches are the choice for sporting event participants, their family and fans because it provides the freedom to pursue fun, relaxing and enriching experiences in a welcoming, safe and wholesome environment.

 

About Wilson

            Wilson Sporting Goods Co. is one of the world's leading manufacturers of high performance sports equipment, apparel and accessories. Since 1914, Wilson has been on the mission to help athletes everywhere reach their true potential.

            For more than 100 years, Wilson has studied the powerful and symbiotic relationship an athlete has with his/her equipment. With that relationship in mind, the company invents, designs and engineers game-changing products using state-of-the-art sports technologies and expertise, and the insights and ambassadorship of its 10,000 member strong Wilson advisory staff. This staff is comprised of top youth, college, amateur and professional athletes, teams, coaches, programs and leagues from around the world.

            The company's unwavering commitment to innovation pushes its sports into new territories, including digitally connected, socially sharable, and highly customizable products. This dedication and focus is woven throughout the Wilson global culture, which thrives on collaboration, experimentation, passion, teamwork, persistence, ingenuity and positivity.