EUGENE, Ore. – The University of Oregon Athletics Department announced the addition of women’s sand volleyball to begin NCAA competition in the spring of 2014.

Sand volleyball becomes Oregon’s 12th women’s program and 20th overall, and makes the UO the seventh Pac-12 institution to add the emerging sport.

“When exploring options to provide additional opportunities for female student-athletes and continue our history of commitment to Title IX, sand volleyball made the most sense at this time,” said athletic director Rob Mullens.  “With half of the schools in the Pac-12 sponsoring the sport and the NCAA identifying it as an emerging sport, the league structure and national growth is already in place and we can remain a nationally competitive volleyball program.”

Stacy Metro, who is currently in her eight year as a full-time assistant on head coach Jim Moore’s volleyball staff, will serve as the head coach for sand.

“The level of support for volleyball from the administration, university and local community is incredible,” said Moore, UO’s ninth-year coach, who led the Ducks to a national runner-up finish in 2012. “This is a tremendous development for our current and future student-athletes and will do nothing but strengthen the overall program.”

Sand volleyball teams are required to play a minimum of eight matches within five dates with three of those dates being dual competitions. Oregon will play exclusively on the road in 2014.

“This is a very exciting opportunity personally and for Oregon volleyball,” said Metro. “As someone who was able to play outside as a young player, I felt it always made me a better player indoors.”

The overall number of schools committed to sand volleyball has more than doubled from 15 in 2012 to 35 programs currently competing in the sport. Once 40 Division I and II institutions sponsor varsity programs for one year, the NCAA will confirm it as a championship sport.

"It is no surprise to see Oregon take the lead on bringing Sand Volleyball to this part of the country," said AVCA executive director, Kathy DeBoer. "They understand the synergy between the sand and the court programs, they see the Title IX benefits, and they get that this is a way to add a popular sport at an affordable price. Sand volleyball will be the fastest sport ever to go from Emerging to Championship status and Oregon is a part of that growth."

The other Pac-12 schools with sand volleyball are Arizona, Arizona State, Cal, Stanford, UCLA and USC.

The Ducks, currently ranked No. 21 nationally, won a school-record 30 matches in 2012, going 16-4 to place second in the volleyball rich Pac-12. Moore was recognized as Volleyball Magazine National Coach of the Year while three UO players achieved All-America status.

Differences between court and sand volleyball

Seasons:

Court - Fall. Sand - Spring.

Format of play:

Court - best of five sets, games to 25-25-25-25-15

Sand - best of three sets, games to 21-21-15

Sand dual meets, the winning team is the school winning three of five matches with a school’s field of five doubles teams

Both are rally scoring and must be won by two points

Number of athletes in play per team:

Court - Six

Sand - Two

Specific sand volleyball rules:

No open-handed tipping

Block touches count as first of three allowable contacts

Coaches may only speak to players during timeouts and between sets

Players switch sides of the court every seven points in a 21-point set and every five points in a 15-point set