Northern Kentucky University to expand athletics programs with addition of six new sports

Northern Kentucky University Athletics will be expanding its sports offerings with six new programs as men’s volleyball, men’s and women’s swimming, men’s and women’s triathlon and women’s stunt will all be added to the roster. It is the first time the department has expanded since women’s soccer and women’s golf were added as varsity sports in 1997.

With the move, Northern Kentucky University will grow to 22 varsity programs and one club sport offering, putting it on the same level as the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville, along with the rest of the state institutions throughout Kentucky. The Norse will also now have more sports for prospective students than both the University of Cincinnati and Xavier University.

“This is an exciting day to be a Norse,” says Christina Roybal, NKU Vice President and Athletics Director. “The addition of these programs furthers our commitment to providing diverse opportunities for students and enriching the overall collegiate experience at NKU.”

“We are thrilled to introduce new sports to our athletic program,” shared NKU President Dr. Cady Short-Thompson. “This decision reflects our commitment to supporting the holistic development of our students, shaping character, instilling discipline and building lifelong skills that extend well beyond the field, pool, or court. As the best value in the state, NKU is dedicated to providing an exceptional, well-rounded education for our students while offering a thriving athletic experience.”

To go with the new additional sport programs, the athletics department has also already doubled the size of the men’s and women’s track & field teams to go with an expansion of NKU’s dance, cheerleading and pep band programs. In total, the athletics department will be adding 250 new students to the NKU campus by the 2026-27 academic year.

All of these moves are being done to help NKU increase enrollment, to increase campus vitality and to continue to build excitement surrounding Northern Kentucky University. It will also greatly expand the chance for high school students throughout the Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati tri-state area to have an opportunity to compete at the NCAA Division I level.

“This is the first move in a multipronged enrollment strategy,” said Board Chair Rich Boehne. “It will improve the lives of even more students and support the university financially as well. It’s a win-win.”

Men’s and women’s swimming, men’s and women’s triathlon and women’s stunt will all start competition in the 2024-25 academic year. Men’s Volleyball will be set to compete in 2025-26. Both swimming programs, women’s triathlon and women’s stunt will begin as varsity sports while men’s triathlon would start as a club sport offering.

All new sports offering would utilize already existing NKU facilities for both practice and competition to minimize startup costs of the programs and a national search for coaching staffs will begin immediately. Grants have also already been secured for some of the new sports offerings as well, to minimize institutional costs.

Men’s volleyball and women’s stunt will both be ticketed sports for the athletics department as well, as an additional way to generate revenue for the new and already existing programs.

Northern Kentucky University

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