OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Stevenson University is blazing a trail in the beach volleyball world. The Owings Mills-based university just announced that it's launching the nation's first varsity men's beach volleyball program.
The new program will launch this fall, according to a press release. Stevenson has already added four sand courts to its sports complex.
Stevenson first made waves by setting up the country's first NCAA DIII women's beach volleyball program in 2016. That team won a national championship in April.
The university has already had a men's indoor volleyball program since 2002.
National volleyball officials say the sport is growing in popularity. Kathy DeBoer, executive director of the American Volleyball Coaches Association, said she thinks there's momomentum to get 50 or more varsity programs over the next few years and transition men's beach volleyball to an NCAA sport.
USA Volleyball President and CEO Jamie Davis said in a statement:
I am convinced that more NCAA institutions will follow suit as the popularity of the sport for men continues to explode."
Stevenson's program, meanwhile, will compete against National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics and collegiate club teams.