NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. – Iona University president Seamus Carey, Ph.D., and director of athletics Matthew Glovaski announced the addition of men’s lacrosse and women’s acrobatics & tumbling as its 22nd and 23rd intercollegiate athletic program offerings. Both sports will aim to begin competition in the 2024-25 academic year.
“It is our mission to create opportunities at Iona University for students to achieve their highest potential both inside and outside of the classroom,” said Carey. “The addition of these two highly competitive and popular varsity programs will be a tremendous benefit both for our student-athletes, and also for the campus community at large.”
“As Iona University continues to grow, we are very proud to offer these expanded opportunities for varsity intercollegiate competition to our students,” said Glovaski. “With the Northeast and in particular Westchester County and the New York Metropolitan Area being a historical hotbed for scholastic men’s lacrosse and the rise of acrobatics & tumbling as an emerging sport for women in the NCAA, these programs will integrate themselves seamlessly into the goals and aspirations of the University.”
With the goal of competition by 2024-25, Iona will look to hire coaching staffs and begin recruiting student-athletes for next year.
The addition of these programs follow Iona’s growing investment in the student experience, including recently launching a Club Sports program, a championship-winning esports club, and welcoming its first director of performing arts to enhance creative opportunities. The acquisition of Iona’s new 28-acre Bronxville, N.Y., campus nearly doubles the University’s footprint and provides additional field space and various performance venues. Aligning with the University’s brand promise to “Learn Outside the Lines,” Iona students have more opportunities than ever to pursue their passions outside of the classroom, while developing meaningful relationships around shared interests.
Acrobatics & Tumbling is the evolution of different disciplines of gymnastics, which includes the athletic aspects of competitive cheerleading. Individuals and small groups execute acrobatic lifts, tosses, and tumbling. The format was created at the collegiate level in 2009. Competitors are primarily recruited from the various disciplines of gymnastics and cheerleading to participate in acrobatics & tumbling, as well as multi-sport athletes, divers, and weightlifters.
Overseen by the National Collegiate Acrobatics & Tumbling Association (NCATA), 32 programs competed on campuses nationwide in 2021-22. Fourteen additional programs are now recruiting with plans to compete by the 2024-25 season at the latest. After reaching 30 members in 2020, acrobatics & tumbling was officially adopted as an NCAA Emerging Sport for Women. Six current NCAA Division I programs (Baylor, Duquesne, Morgan State, Oregon, Presbyterian, and Quinnipiac), two schools in the New York metropolitan area (Caldwell and Felician) and seven within a radius between Philadelphia, PA and New Haven, CT (East Stroudsburg, Georgian Court, Holy Family, and Kutztown along with Quinnipiac, Caldwell and Felician) will compete for the NCATA National Championship along with Iona in Spring 2025. The championship tournament is a three-day event held in late April.
“We are thrilled to welcome Iona University to the NCATA community and to be part of the growth of their intercollegiate athletics department,” said Janell Cook, Executive Director of NCATA. “We greatly appreciate the administration at Iona and their belief in the future of Acrobatics & Tumbling. Their thoughtful research and decision to add will positively impact the lives of female student-athletes training in gymnastics and cheerleading who wish to compete at the collegiate level.”
“Iona’s announcement continues expansion momentum in the Northeast, through which we’ve been fortunate to grow in all three NCAA divisions,” added Cook. “Our NCATA member administrators continue to be our best advocates. We are thankful for those in the region who provided support to Iona through this process as we collectively move forward towards our goal of reaching NCAA championship sport status.”