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NCAA Division I Northern Kentucky University Adds Women's Collegiate Triathlon

by USA Triathlon

University of Northern Kentucky logo
University of Northern Kentucky

University of Northern Kentucky

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — The University of Northern Kentucky will become the 15th NCAA Division I program to offer women’s triathlon at the varsity level, as the Norse will begin competition in fall 2024.

“We are thrilled to see new athletic opportunities for female Northern Kentucky student-athletes, who will shape the future of our sport for years to come and drive NCAA Division I collegiate triathlon competition to the highest level," said Victoria Brumfield, USA Triathlon CEO.

“We are thrilled to introduce new sports to our athletic program,” said NKU President Dr. Cady Short-Thompson. “This decision reflects our commitment to supporting the holistic development of our students, shaping character, instilling discipline and building lifelong skills that extend well beyond the field, pool, or court. As the best value in the state, NKU is dedicated to providing an exceptional, well-rounded education for our students while offering a thriving athletic experience.”

Northern Kentucky's addition of women's triathlon as a collegiate varsity sport is made possible through a grant from the USA Triathlon Foundation. The USA Triathlon Foundation Women's Emerging Sport Grant is distributed to NCAA membership institutions to develop, implement, and sustain women's triathlon programs at the varsity level.

The commitment by Northern Kentucky continues the momentum women’s collegiate triathlon has gathered toward becoming an NCAA Championship sport. With more than 40 schools now offering women’s collegiate triathlon, the NCAA Emerging Sport for Women has met the 10-year window to demonstrate sustainability and success at the NCAA varsity level. Women’s Triathlon now has a few more steps to take on its way to being fully managed by the NCAA as a championship event, including committee, council, divisional and budget approvals.

A fall sport, the women’s triathlon varsity season includes National Qualifiers, followed by the Women’s Collegiate Triathlon National Championships. The 2023 Women's Collegiate Triathlon National Championships were held last month in Tempe, Arizona. The draft-legal races are sprint-distance, featuring a 750-meter open-water swim, draft-legal 20-kilometer bike and 5-kilometer run.

In the draft-legal format, athletes work together in packs on the bike and make multiple loops on a closed course. The exciting, spectator-friendly draft-legal format is the same format contested in the triathlon competition at the Olympic Games and on the World Triathlon Championship Series circuit.

For more information about triathlon as an NCAA Emerging Sport for Women, visit https://www.usatriathlon.org/multisport/ncaa-triathlon.

Interested in helping to identify and recruit the next women’s varsity collegiate triathlon program? Inquiries may be directed to Tim Yount, USA Triathlon Chief Sport Development Officer, at tim.yount@usatriathlon.org.


About University of Northern Kentucky

NKU is an entrepreneurial state university of more than 15,000 students on a thriving suburban campus nestled between Highland Heights, Kentucky and bustling downtown Cincinnati. Ranked in the top 50 out of 400 universities nationwide by The Wall Street Journal for exceptional value, we are a regionally engaged university committed to delivering an innovative, student-centered education. We empower our graduates to have fulfilling careers and meaningful lives, while contributing to the economic, civic and social vitality of the region. Learn more at nku.edu.


About USA Triathlon
USA Triathlon is proud to serve as the National Governing Body for triathlon, as well as duathlon, aquathlon, aquabike, winter triathlon, off-road triathlon, paratriathlon, and indoor and virtual multisport events in the United States. Founded in 1982, USA Triathlon sanctions more than 4,000 races and connects with more than 400,000 members each year, making it the largest multisport organization in the world. In addition to its work at the grassroots level with athletes, coaches, and race directors — as well as the USA Triathlon Foundation — USA Triathlon provides leadership and support to elite athletes competing at international events, including World Triathlon Championships, Pan American Games and the Olympic and Paralympic Games. USA Triathlon is a proud member of World Triathlon and the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC).


Women’s Varsity Collegiate Triathlon Programs
NCAA Division I (15)

Arizona State University (Tempe, Ariz.)

Delaware State University (Dover, Del.)

Chicago State University (Chicago, Ill.)

Duquesne (Pittsburgh, Pa.)

East Tennessee State University (Johnson City, Tenn.)

Hampton University (Hampton, Va.)

Queens University of Charlotte (Charlotte, N.C.)

Texas Christian University (Fort Worth, Texas)

University of Arizona (Tucson, Ariz.)

University of Denver (Denver, Colo.)

University of Northern Kentucky (Highland Heights, Ky.)

University of San Francisco (San Francisco. Calif.)

University of South Dakota (Vermillion, S.D.)

U.S. Naval Academy (Annapolis, Md.)

Wagner College (Staten Island, N.Y.)


NCAA Division II (15)

American International College (Springfield, Mass.)

Belmont Abbey College (Belmont, N.C.)

Black Hills State University (Spearfish, S.D.)

Cal Poly Humboldt (Arcata, Calif.)

Colorado Mesa University (Grand Junction, Colo.)

Drury University (Springfield, Mo.)

Emmanuel College (Franklin Springs, Ga.)

King University (Bristol, Tenn.)

Lake Superior State University (Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.)

Lenoir-Rhyne University (Hickory, N.C.)

Montana State University Billings (Billings, Mont.)

Newberry College (Newberry, S.C.)

Roberts Wesleyan University (Rochester, N.Y.)

St. Thomas Aquinas College (Sparkill, N.Y.)

Wingate University (Wingate, N.C.)


NCAA Division III (14)

Alvernia University (Reading, Pa.)

Calvin College (Grand Rapids, Mich.)

Central College (Pella, Iowa)

Coe College (Cedar Rapids, Iowa)

Concordia University Wisconsin (Mequon, Wis.)

Eastern Mennonite University (Harrisonburg, Va.)

Greensboro College (Greensboro, N.C.)

Guilford College (Greensboro, N.C.)

Millikin University (Decatur, Ill.)

North Central College (Naperville, Ill.)

Transylvania University (Lexington, Ky.)

Trine University (Angola, Ind.)

Willamette University (Salem, Ore.)

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