THURSDAY, MAY 05, 2011
JU adds sand volleyball as a varsity sport for 2012

Jacksonville University approved sand volleyball as a varsity sport for the 2011-12 academic year last week during the spring Board of Trustees meeting.

JU becomes one of the latest schools to add sand volleyball as the sport gains NCAA championship status for the first time in 2012. The new program becomes the 21st varsity sport at JU.

"We're excited about starting sand volleyball and giving our volleyball student-athletes the opportunity to further their careers and compete for championships," said JU director of athletics Alan Verlander. "Our volleyball student-athletes compete in the spring in several sand tournaments, so this formalizes our commitment to playing at the highest level - a commitment we have with all of our athletic programs, on and off the field."

Sand volleyball will be setup similar to collegiate tennis - with each team submitting five doubles teams to face each other in seeded matchups. With an indoor program already in place, the JU volleyball program will oversee the operation of the sand volleyball program, with the roster being comprised of the student-athletes from the volleyball program.

"With our spring season being played on the beach, we are appreciative of the support from the administration to add sand volleyball as a varsity sport," said JU head coach Shaun Kupferburg. "Our student-athletes are already competing at a high level on sand and we look forward to our first season next spring."

Women's sand volleyball was recently recognized by NCAA Division I as an emerging sport for women, effective August 2011. JU joins a growing group of more than 20 programs that have plans to add the sport including four other Atlantic Sun Conference schools - Stetson, FGCU, Mercer and UNF - and national powers like Southern Cal, Stanford, Florida State, Arizona, UCLA and Notre Dame.