Volleyball: Cal to add sand volleyball team

Cal has added a women’s sand volleyball program, to make its debut March 9 when the Bears visit Pacific.

Cal’s first home match will be March 14 against San Jose State.

The Bears will play seven dual matches and participate in two tournaments during the season. The competition format features five doubles matches per event, and each match consists of a best 2-out-of-3 sets.

The Bears will play their home matches at the Clark Kerr sand volleyball facility. The roster will be made up of players from Cal’s current indoor volleyball team as well as non-scholarship athletes who just play sand volleyball.

Women’s indoor volleyball coach Rich Feller will oversee the program.

As resources become available, the program will leave open the possibility of adding scholarship players and a separate coaching staff in the future.

The addition of sand volleyball now gives Cal athletics 30 sponsored sports – 16 for women and 14 for men. Sand volleyball is the first athletics program to be added by the school since women’s lacrosse began intercollegiate competition in 1999.

Cal becomes the seventh Pac-12 team to add the program, joining Stanford, USC, UCLA, Arizona, Arizona State and Oregon.

Once the total number of schools nationwide offering the sport reaches 40, which is expected to happen this spring, the NCAA will start planning to transition sand volleyball from an emerging sport to a championship sport and host an annual national championship.

The addition of sand volleyball allows Cal to continue to meet its Title IX obligations through Prong III by fully and effectively accommodating the interests and abilities of the underrepresented gender on campus.

Cal expects to be able to sponsor sand volleyball at a minimal cost. The team will be overseen by the current staff of Cal’s indoor team and travel costs will be minimized because most of Cal’s regular-season opponents are located in Northern California.

Jeff Faraudo