(Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

Vanderbilt University announced Tuesday that it has added women’s volleyball as its 17th varsity sport, set to begin competition in the 2025-26 academic year.

“Volleyball and Vanderbilt are a perfect fit, and we are excited to welcome a new group of student-athletes, fans and supporters to Commodore Nation,” athletic director Candice Lee said in a statement. “Adding one of the most popular participation sports for girls and one of the NCAA’s fastest-growing women’s championship experiences is in line with our ongoing effort to reimagine the future of Vanderbilt Athletics and provide the best student-athlete experience in college athletics.”

Volleyball was played at Vanderbilt in 1979, and the team participated in the first officially recognized SEC Tournament, but it was discontinued following the 1979-80 academic year.

The addition comes on the heels of last year’s NCAA volleyball championship drawing a record 1.19 million viewers on ESPN.

“After careful study, Vanderbilt believes a 36-month timeline for implementation offers the program the best chance for sustainable and competitive success, particularly in the Southeastern Conference, which will now sponsor 16 varsity volleyball programs starting in 2025 with the addition of Oklahoma and Texas,” the statement by the university reads.

Included among the plans are a renovation to make space for a volleyball program headquarters as well as the addition of a locker room for the team.