Why would an athletics department want to start a varsity squash program?
Affiliation with Top-rated Institutions
– All Ivy League and NESCAC institutions have varsity teams
– Additional institutions with varsity programs: Virginia, Stanford, Navy, George Washington, MIT, Haverford, Dickinson, Franklin & Marshall, Vassar
– 25 of the top 30 schools on Forbes Top Colleges list for 2019 have an active CSA varsity or club team
– Diversity: o Historically, squash was played predominantly in clubs and prep schools in the Northeast United States, but that is changing.
o Squash Education Alliance (SEA) recognizes 25 urban squash programs around the country and internationally.
o Squash is played in over 185 countries around the world.
– Socio-Economics o If an institution is interested in full-paying students, perhaps to lessen the burden on financial aid, the squash community has the population to support that.
o If an institution also values socioeconomic diversity, the growth of the junior squash community, particularly in urban areas and internationally, can support that as well.
– Student Body Growth o The average intercollegiate squash team has 15 players.
o Adding men’s and women’s teams could increase enrollment by an average of 30 people at a relatively low cost.
– Title IX o Is Title IX compliance a concern for the institution? Adding a women’s varsity program could help in this regard.
– Relative to other intercollegiate sports, squash is an inexpensive sport to operate. The most expensive piece of equipment is the racquet, but uniforms, apparel, shoes, eyewear, and balls can all be accessed relatively inexpensively.
– Facility construction and maintenance is relatively inexpensive too. On a basic level, a team needs an open space in a building and some walls for the courts. It is not on the same scale as building a turf field or an indoor arena.
– In general, the squash-playing community is very interested in helping to grow the sport. That community has proven that it will financially support programs and institutions that commit to growing squash.
– Again, certain demographics within the squash community have the capacity to make significant and lasting impacts.
Supplement to Campus Recreation
– Squash is considered one of the best fitness activities based on strength, agility, cardiovascular fitness, and convenience. Forbes Magazine ranked it the #1 healthiest sport for fitness, agility, and safety.
– Offering recreational squash on campus provides a meaningful outlet for a workout that does not take much time.
– Having courts on campus could attract a diverse group of students (undergraduate and graduate), faculty, staff, post-graduates, and visitors – casual squash players – who might not originally consider coming to campus if courts were not available.
– Squash is known to a be an excellent lifetime recreational activity.
– Squash courts provide another option to monetize an institution’s recreational offerings, especially as the game continues to grow in participation and geographically.
Structure Provided by College Squash Association (CSA)
– CSA is the official governing body for intercollegiate squash in the United States (at least 110 total teams participating – 35 men’s varsity, 31 women’s varsity, approximately 45 club teams).
– In 2017, the CSA reorganized its structure to set up an independent board of directors.
– In 2018, the CSA hired its first ever full-time employee to be the Executive Director & League Commissioner.
– CSA works in partnership with conference offices and institutional compliance offices to establish regulations and monitor rules compliance.
– CSA leadership also handles long-term strategic planning, philosophy development, and revenue generation for the growing organization.
Eligibility and Process – Transitioning to Varsity Status
Institutions that are interested in creating a varsity squash program that will compete as a member of the Intercollegiate Squash Association (CSA) must meet the following eligibility criteria:
1. The program must have been officially accorded varsity status by the institution’s president, chancellor, and/or committee responsible for intercollegiate athletics
2. The program must be administered by the institution’s department of intercollegiate athletics like the institution’s other varsity teams. At a minimum, this administrative support must include the following:
o Program operational needs included within the athletics department’s budget
o Paid head squash coach
o Access to a training and competition facility with a minimum of 3 courts that meet World Squash Federation (WSF) specifications
o Support from departmental staff members, including sports medicine, athletics communications, and student-athlete support services employees
o Oversight by athletics department NCAA compliance staff members
o Coverage under departmental insurance policy
o (Other recommended, but not required, elements include: recruiting support, binding match agreements, athletics administrators and athletic trainers at all home matches)
3. The program’s administrators, coach(es) and student-athletes must follow all NCAA and conference (if applicable) regulations in concordance with the institution’s divisional membership, as well as CSA regulations.
4. The institution must agree to pay CSA annual membership dues and entry fees, as approved by the CSA Board of Directors
To apply for a formal transition to varsity status, institutions should submit the following document to the CSA League Commissioner:
• A letter sent by the head of the institution’s department of athletics petitioning the CSA for varsity membership for its squash program(s). The letter must: o attest that the department and the squash program(s) meet the eligibility criteria stated above;
o confirm the institution’s NCAA divisional affiliation and its intention to comply with all relevant NCAA, conference (if applicable), and CSA regulations;
o declare that squash coaches and student-athletes will be expected to adhere to NCAA and institutional processes similar to other coaches and student-athletes in the athletics department
o state the intended timeline for the program’s transition to varsity status
Once receiving the application materials, the CSA League Commissioner will determine if the applying institution satisfies the requirements for varsity consideration. If the requirements are satisfied, the application will be referred to the CSA Board of Directors for consideration. At least two-thirds of the Board of Directors must vote in favor of the application to approve the granting of varsity status. The status will take effect on the following September 1, or, if more time is requested by the institution, on the institution’s designated timeline.
Upon CSA Board of Directors approval of the institution’s application for varsity membership, the institution will be required to pay a non-refundable initiation fee of $1,500 per new team to the CSA.
New varsity teams will be reviewed after four years to ensure continued compliance with the above requirements. All varsity teams are subject to ongoing review thereafter, at any time, at the discretion of the CSA Board of Directors.