VU Bowling moving to USBC affiliation for 2014-15 school year
June 23, 2014
Vincennes University’s bowling team – a long-time powerhouse among two-year programs and a highly competitive entry in tournaments filled with four-year collegiate teams – is leaving the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) and becoming affiliated with United States Bowling Congress (USBC) Collegiate.
The move, which has been approved by the NJCAA, will be effective for the 2014-15 school year and corresponding bowling season. All other VU sports remain affiliated with the NJCAA and VU Athletic Director Harry Meeks said the move is being made with a strong relationship between VU and the NJCAA staying intact.
Trailblazer bowlers have captured 19 NJCAA National Championships, including the 2014 national title. VU has competed annually against top four-year NCAA-member bowling programs throughout its regular season schedule and regularly qualified for the USBC Collegiate Intercollegiate Team Championships (ITC).
VU Bowling’s move was precipitated by changes in NJCAA eligibility rules for bowling and several of the 2014-15 second-year Trailblazer bowlers would be ineligible to compete. Meeks said future junior college bowlers across the country would encounter the same eligibility obstacles in the future and other two-year bowling programs are also exploring leaving the NJCAA.
For VU, the switch to USBC Collegiate affiliation is also important to student recruiting and retention because many Trailblazer bowlers are enrolled in VU’s Bowling Management program as they prepare for a career in the bowling industry.
From a competitive standpoint, the Trailblazers’ new affiliation won’t mean much of a change. VU Bowling’s regular season has historically been heavily weighted with USBC-member opponents, while NJCAA-member teams have completed the tournaments’ fields.
“All of our competition prior to the post-season is competing in the USBC ranks,” said VU Coach Gary Sparks. “One of the reasons for that is that there are no NJCAA-specific regular-season events in the Midwest. There are only a handful of NJCAA-member schools west of Pennsylvania that have bowling programs.”
Sparks said the USBC Collegiate affiliation will also allow Trailblazer bowlers to use four years of eligibility because VU offers four-year bachelor degree academic programs.
Under the auspices of USBC Collegiate, more than 3,500 student-athletes on 200 college and university intercollegiate bowling teams compete in more than 80 certified tournaments each year. Nearly 100 colleges and universities across the country offer bowling scholarships.
Collegiate bowling has grown in popularity and prestige under College Bowling USA and, more recently, with the formation of the USBC Collegiate program. It includes men's and women's teams at the club, National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and NJCAA levels, as well as women's varsity teams with the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA).
The USBC Collegiate program is located at USBC Headquarters in Arlington, Texas. The NCAA, NJCAA and NAIA recognize USBC Collegiate as the sport's national intercollegiate governing body, the largest organized body for collegiate bowling. For more information on USBC Collegiate, visit http://www.bowl.com/Collegiate.