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Beach volleyball

Beach Volleyball in USA Universities

Women’s beach volleyball in American colleges is a recently introduced “emerging sport” that is experiencing constant exponential growth. By now, the institutions where you can practice are approaching 200 and every year new colleges include beach volleyball among their sports. The popularity of this sport shows no sign of abating, offering more and more opportunities for student-athletes.

At the moment it has not yet been officially recognized in the men’s field, but given the very encouraging data in the women’s field there is a good chance that it will be introduced soon. There are already active programs that do competitions and tournaments but there are not yet the numbers for the official creation of the championship.


Each of these higher education institutions is part of a “league” that regulates and organizes intercollegiate sports competitions, including women’s beach volleyball. The best known of these leagues is the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association), but there are others such as the NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics), the NJCAA, (National Junior College Athletic Association) for Junior Colleges and the CCCAA (California Community College Athletic Association) is another league for Junior Colleges and is exclusive to the state of California.

Below is a summary table of the leagues and divisions that offer women’s beach volleyball:

League & Division Number of teams Average rose size
NCAA’S 54 18
NCAA DII 11 18
NJCAA 17 12
CCCAA 53 13

Level of competition

As it is easy to imagine with such a large number of teams and leagues, the level of beach volleyball is quite varied: the top teams that aim for the national title include in their ranks athletes who are part of their respective national teams and compete in the most important international events, but we also find programs with novice athletes on the sand, but with good physical and technical potential.

Scholarship Benefits

Beach volleyball is an “equivalency sport” and this means that scholarships for sporting merit can be divided into partial scholarships by distributing them among a larger number of athletes.

In NCAA DI, universities can offer up to 6 full-coverage sports scholarships, while in NCAA DII, the upper limit is 5 full-coverage sports scholarships. As we said, coaches generally tend to distribute them among the athletes by assigning them a “part” of these scholarships which, added to those for academic merit, make up the scholarship package. It’s rare to have players with full scholarships in their first year. On the other hand, it is possible to obtain a total scholarship by demonstrating, once you have arrived, your academic and sporting qualities and thus improve the initial scholarship.

NCAA DIII, on the other hand, does not have scholarships for sporting merit and so college expenses must be met through academic scholarships, other merits and personal funds.

For the NJCAA scholarship opportunities are still limited, but each college creates attractive economic packages that, combined with lower costs on average than 4-year colleges, allow Italians to evaluate a start of a course in these facilities and then move to the NCAA and NAIA leagues to finish their degree. The peculiarity in JUCOs is that, having to move after 2 years, the “round of athletes” is much higher and more frequent

The CCAAA is not officially regulated from the point of view of the sports scholarships that each college can offer, so the proposals are very personalized according to the resources and needs of the teams while the NAIA league It has not yet regulated the offer of beach volleyball scholarships. However, these colleges often offer attractive academic scholarships and being generally less expensive, the total amount to be paid after the scholarships are awarded can be significantly lower than at universities in other leagues.

Remember that scholarships are valid for one year and are therefore renewable at the end of each academic year.


A very interesting opportunity for Italian athletes is the possibility of a dual sport career, namely play both indoor volleyball and beach volleyball. In fact, beach volleyball is a Spring sport and therefore the official championship takes place in the second semester (from January to May) while women’s volleyball is a Fall sport with the season starting in August and ending in November/December.

This organization makes it possible for athletes who are interested in both sports or who are not yet specialized in beach volleyball, to be able to continue to practice both. This possibility is also interesting from the point of view of scholarships, since in volleyball the number of scholarships available for teams is greater than for beach volleyball.see women’s volleyball). It is also an opportunity for players who have not yet reached a level that can aspire to a scholarship for beach volleyball, but who can instead obtain it for volleyball and thus be able to cover some (or a good part) of the expenses.

Discover the stories of our athletes who have made this journey.


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