The website for the NCAA boasts a variety of sports featured as a part of the organization. One sport not found, is motorsport. Ironically, the NCAA headquarters is based in Indianapolis, a city well known for its motorsport events.
Many people will immediately argue that racing is not a sport. Allow me to retort. Consider the most basic definition of a sport, according to Merriam and Webster: a contest or game in which people do certain physical activities according to a specific set of rules and compete against each other.
The human body endures significant physical wear from sitting in a vehicle for several hours at a time. Now instead of going 60-80 miles per hour on the freeway for that long, like a common driver, try going an average of 150 miles per hour whilst making turns that can generate up to 3.5 g of lateral force.
To compare, an astronaut of a space shuttle will face around 3 g of lateral force during launch and reentry. Now try doing all of that over a period of two hours with other people trying to finish ahead of you. It is quite the physical feat, and there is certainly a specific set of rules.
An introduction of motorsport competition at a college level would bring in a lot of interest, not just from the average NASCAR fan, but from an educational standpoint as well. Think of engineers, mechanics, and drivers working together to create a car that will compete with those from other colleges. Obviously, there will have to be guidelines and budgets to make sure all colleges who are part of the sport have a fair shot of winning. It wouldn’t be much fun to see Stanford or Massachusetts Institute of Technology winning every race. Plus, NCAA students cannot be paid in any way, from the colleges or sponsors for that matter.
Races would take place over the course of a year, with routine practice sessions before the actual races that weekend. Picture the different venues and tracks where the races would be held, and the amount of interest that can be brought from them.
The main concern I can see for people being against this is for the safety of the drivers. To become a driver for the “NCAA Motorsport” you will have to obtain a racing license, which will involve written and driving tests. Regulations and guidelines for the cars and races alike (the specific set of rules), including crash tests of the cars, will promote safe vehicles and fair competition.
This would take several years to implement and create, but is something that will be worth creating. Racing is a sport that can put fans in the seats and create potential careers for the athletes involved.
Sometimes it doesn’t hurt to create things and NCAA motorsport is something that should be green-lit.