Is Pickleball A College Sport? My Honest Take

Pickleball is gaining steam. Students are picking up paddles.

But, is pickleball a college sport?

In this article, we dive into the world of pickleball. We explore its place in college athletics. No twists or turns are left unchecked.

Is pickleball a college sport

From informal games to potential varsity teams, we assess it all. Join us in this exciting exploration about where pickleball stands in colleges.

Is pickleball a college sport?

No, pickleball is not a college sport. It’s generally seen as a fun, club activity at most educational institutions.

The NCAA, the governing body for college athletics, does not recognize pickleball as a varsity sport. 

However, its popularity is growing. Many colleges now have pickleball clubs, and it’s offered in physical education courses. Some colleges host intercollegiate pickleball tournaments.

So, while not a formal college sport, it’s an activity that students enjoy and take part in with enthusiasm. It could be on the path to becoming a recognized sport in the future.

Is pickleball going to be a college sport?

Predicting the future of sports can be tricky. Currently, pickleball is not an official college sport. But its rapid growth and participation suggest potential.

Is pickleball going to be a college sport

It’s seeing use in physical education programs and club activities. Some colleges even hold pickleball tournaments. However, becoming a varsity sport requires NCAA approval.

For now, it’s unknown if or when this might happen. But as more students pick up paddles, the push for recognition might grow. So, there’s a chance that pickleball could become a college sport in the future.

College Pickleball Championship

National college pickleball championships are not official yet. As a growing sport, pickleball enjoys a presence in clubs and tournaments.

More and more colleges now hold their own events. These contests showcase students’ skills and passion for the sport.

Most college pickleball events are informal. Several schools organize regional or small-scale competitions. Such events give players a chance to test their abilities. They can play against other colleges and learn from each other.

While there’s no official college pickleball championship yet, fans stay hopeful. As more students join the sport, interest and demand may rise.

This growth could pave the way for a national championship in the future. Until then, college pickleball players will keep enjoying their tournaments and friendly games.

How to Start a Pickleball Club in Your College?

Here’s a simple guide to forming a pickleball club at your school.

  • Understand Interest: Find out if other students share your pickleball passion. Use surveys or casual conversations. Gauge interest and commitment levels. You need a reliable group to start a club.
  • Know the Rules: Familiarize yourself with your school’s rules for starting a club. Colleges typically have guidelines on club formation. It includes member minimums, advisor roles, and registration processes.
  • Assemble a Team: Once you have interest, gather a core team. You need roles like President, Vice-President, and Treasurer. They help manage and plan club activities.
  • Draft Your Constitution: Most colleges need a club constitution. It outlines club objectives, roles, member rights, and rules. Make it clear, concise, and formal.
  • Register Your Club: Submit your constitution and club registration form to the host department, often the Student Affairs or similar. You may also need a faculty advisor.
  • Plan Activities: Club activities play a key role in its success. Practice sessions, tournaments, workshops, and meetings keep members engaged. Plan activities that cater to different skill levels.
  • Secure Funding: Clubs need funds for gear, clinics, courts, and events. Start with membership dues. Then look for sponsorships, fundraisers, and school funds.
  • Start the Club: Once approved, kick start your club. Hold regular meetings and practices. Communicate clearly with members.

Starting a pickleball club is no small feat. It needs passion, commitment, and proper planning. With these steps, you can build a club that promotes camaraderie and the joy of pickleball.

NCAA’s Role in Making Pickleball an Official College Sport

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) plays a pivotal role in determining which sports become officially recognized at the college level.

A sport’s recognition by the NCAA increases its legitimacy and opens up funding, organizational structure, and often, the road to televised coverage and sponsorship. So, its recognition of pickleball would boost the game significantly.

Firstly, it’s essential to understand how a game gets the NCAA stamp. It’s based on several factors.

NCAA's Role in Making Pickleball an Official College Sport
  1. Interest and Participation: There needs to be significant participation across the member colleges and universities. Pickleball’s current popularity surge is heartening, though it’s unclear if this is enough for NCAA.
  2. Rules and Regulations: The sport should have a clear set of rules and an established governing body. Pickleball does have these, through the USA Pickleball Association.
  3. Practicality: Equally important is ensuring facilities and resources can sustain the sport. Given pickleball’s flexible space and resource needs, this aspect appears achievable.

The NCAA governs athletics across three divisions, which cater to a wide range of athletic programs. If pickleball becomes an official NCAA sport, it will be centered around these divisions.

It would bounce from Intramural and Club level to a Varsity level, ensuring matches are competitive, official, and under a unified set of rules.

Universities having NCAA-recognized pickleball means student-athletes could have scholarships, formalized coaching, and competitive opportunities. The NCAA would govern and regulate pickleball, ensuring fairness and competitive balance.

Importantly, official NCAA recognition would open doors for media coverage, increasing exposure for the sport. It could attract more athletes, sponsors, and commercial interests.

However, while there’s been a significant growth spurt in pickleball, it still remains in the early stages of permeating the college sports environment.

The NCAA has yet to comment specifically on pickleball’s recognition. The process of recognition can take years and usually begins with emerging sports programs.

The integration of pickleball as an NCAA sport hangs in the balance, but with high levels of participation, straightforward rules, and the game’s accessibility, the potential is undoubtedly there.


Pickleball’s status as a college sport is in flux. While not yet an official NCAA game, interest is burgeoning among students. This fast, fun game is gaining traction, with many colleges housing pickleball clubs.

The features–simple rules, economical, and adaptable–suit the college scene. Though the journey into the NCAA fold could be long, pickleball’s promise can’t be ignored.

It’s not official yet, but pickleball has had a warm welcome in colleges across the nation. It could well be on its way to becoming a recognized college sport.

Leave a Comment