Serving Up Success: Will Pickleball Join the Ranks of NCAA College Sports?


The popularity of pickleball has skyrocketed in recent years, attracting players of all ages and skill levels. With its fast-paced action, accessible rules, and inclusive nature, pickleball has captured the attention of sports enthusiasts worldwide. As the sport continues to gain traction, the question arises: will pickleball become an NCAA college sport? In this blog post, we will explore the factors influencing the potential inclusion of pickleball in the NCAA, examining the sport’s growth, collegiate interest, and the NCAA’s selection process for new sports.

Pickleball’s Rapid Rise 

Pickleball’s rise to prominence has been nothing short of extraordinary. From its humble beginnings in the 1960s, the sport has witnessed exponential growth, capturing the hearts of players and enthusiasts across the globe. Pickleball’s unique blend of tennis, badminton, and ping pong has made it an appealing choice for recreational and competitive players mhtspace alike.

In recent years, pickleball has begun making its way onto college campuses. Many colleges and universities have introduced pickleball programs as intramural or club sports, recognizing the growing demand and popularity among students. These grassroots initiatives demonstrate the sport’s potential to transition into an officially recognized NCAA college sport in the future.

Collegiate Interest and Participation

Pickleball’s presence in collegiate settings has been steadily increasing. College pickleball clubs and teams have sprung up across the country, providing students with opportunities to compete and represent their institutions. These clubs often organize tournaments, matches, and training sessions, fostering a sense of camaraderie and healthy competition among students.

The growing interest in pickleball at the collegiate level has caught the attention of both players and administrators. The sport’s accessibility, lower equipment costs, and ability to accommodate multiple players on a single court make it an attractive option for colleges looking to diversify their athletic offerings.

NCAA Selection Process

The NCAA follows a rigorous selection process when considering new sports for inclusion in its program. Several factors are taken into account, including popularity, competitive infrastructure, adherence to NCAA values, and the potential to enhance the overall collegiate sports experience.

Popularity and participation rates play a significant role in the NCAA’s decision-making process. The growing interest in pickleball, both in terms of recreational and collegiate participation, positions the sport favorably. Additionally, pickleball’s relatively low cost and accessibility align with the NCAA’s focus on expanding opportunities for student-athletes across a diverse range of sports.

Challenges and Considerations

While the prospect of pickleball becoming an NCAA college sport is promising, there are challenges and considerations to address. One challenge is the need to establish a standardized competitive structure and infrastructure across colleges and universities. This includes the development of consistent rules, regulations, and the availability of dedicated pickleball facilities on campuses.

Another consideration is the alignment of pickleball with the NCAA’s existing sports offerings. The NCAA must assess the impact of adding pickleball on scheduling, resources, and student-athlete participation. It is essential to ensure that pickleball integration does not dilute or detract from other established collegiate sports.

Advocacy and Growth 

Advocacy and collaboration are crucial in elevating pickleball’s status to that of an NCAA college sport. Enthusiastic players, coaches, and administrators can advocate for pickleball’s inclusion, emphasizing its positive impact on student-athletes and the wider college community. Collaborations with pickleball associations, governing bodies, and experienced coaches can provide guidance and support to colleges interested in implementing pickleball interbiography programs.


While the path to becoming an NCAA college sport is not without its challenges, pickleball’s rapid growth, collegiate interest, and alignment with NCAA values make it a strong contender for inclusion. As more colleges embrace the sport, pickleball’s potential to join the ranks of NCAA college sports becomes increasingly plausible. Regardless of its eventual NCAA status, pickleball’s increasing presence on college campuses is a testament to its appeal and the vibrant future that lies ahead for this dynamic and inclusive sport.

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