College Water Polo
The NCAA has sponsored a water polo national championship since 1969. As there is no professional water polo tournament in the USA, the NCAA’s tournament is the highest level of competition that is played annually in America. There are currently 110 men’s and women’s water polo teams in the NCAA, and all of them – whether they are from Division I, II, or III – are eligible to compete in the NCAA’s National Championship.
As the popularity of water polo grew in the 1990s, the appeal of it as a collegiate sport grew too. US colleges began to attract the top talent in the world, and saw such stars as Tony Azevedo, Anikò Pelle, and Balazs Erdelyi. The increased participation and funding at college level also saw the world’s best coaches head for the USA, most notable of which was USC’s Jovan Vavic.
Water Polo Scholarships
Water Polo teams in NCAA D1 and D2 are able to fund 4 full scholarships for men, while every women’s team can award 8. Division 3 programs do not offer scholarships for sports but will reward top academic performers with merit scholarships. Water polo is not played within the NJCAA and the NAIA Associations. Universities that play water polo traditionally have high academic standards; players will need to be both goods in the pool and in the classroom to secure water polo scholarships.
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