First ever cycling programs at Institute of American Indian Arts, Navajo Technical University, Johnson C. Smith University
We have the ability to change cycling, to grow the sport for everyone, and I’m excited to see where this road takes all of us
– Jonathan Vaughters, CEO of EF Pro Cycling Team
This month, cycling programs will launch at two Tribal College and Universities (TCU) and in 2022 at one women’s Historically Black college and university (HBCU) as recipients of three-year grants from Cannondale, EF Pro Cycling, and USA Cycling. The Institute of American Indian Arts and Navajo Technical University will pave the way for collegiate cycling amongst the Indigenous community as the first two schools to offer programs at any TCU. In spring 2022, Johnson C. Smith University will kick-off the first women’s cycling team at any HBCU and in the institution’s 154-year history.
“We are excited to support the Institute of American Indian Arts, Navajo Technical University, and Johnson C. Smith University as they pave the way to a more inclusive future in cycling. I’m hopeful that in the coming years we will see more diversity at the highest levels of the sport — and that our team can help discover and develop riders who haven’t enjoyed the same access or opportunities many cyclists take for granted,” said Vaughters.
Cannondale, EF Pro Cycling, and members of the USA Cycling DEI Task Force designated the grant recipients following an application process that was open to any HBCU and TCU in the country. The grant application focused on student interest, anticipated participation, and existing athletic program infrastructure to ensure long-term growth potential.
“Having a cycling program is going to be a great asset and will give our students an opportunity to compete as well as keep them on a healthy track physically,” said Johnson C. Smith University Director of Compliance (JCSU) Shawn Meacham. “Additionally, it will allow students to pursue higher education benefits while being involved in the program and presents educational growth and leadership qualities for our scholar athletes on and off the course.
“The benefits of this grant are far-reaching and will have a positive impact on recruitment and the health and well-being of our student body, who are primarily Indigenous from the United States and First Nations from Canada,” said Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) President Dr. Robert Martin (Cherokee Nation). “IAIA, one of 37 Tribal Colleges in the U.S., hasn’t had a cycling program, and this opportunity will expand our athletics program while encouraging leadership and healthy lifestyles in our students.”
The three schools will receive different forms of support from each partner including administrative assistance, equipment, finances, mentorship, coaching, and technical guidance. Each school selected will have a varsity or intramural club program focusing on varied disciplines:
Institute of American Indian Arts: Located in Santa Fe, N.M. and founded in 1962 will host co-ed intramural gravel and mountain bike teams.
Johnson C. Smith University: Located in Charlotte, N.C. and founded in 1867 will host women’s varsity road, cyclocross and gravel teams.
Navajo Technical University: Located in Crownpoint, N.M. and founded in 1979 will host co-ed club and varsity mountain bike and gravel teams.
“The expansion of our competitive sports program at Navajo Technical University will be profound,” said Navajo Technical University (NTU) Provost Dr. Colleen Bowman. “The grant will allow us to begin to find our way back to a time of normalcy as the pandemic has been particularly challenging for the Navajo community.”
In a continued effort to support this initiative, Cannondale, EF Pro Cycling, and USAC will host a raffle to win one of theThe grant was created as a collaborative effort to grow the cycling community and establish a long-term source of opportunity for two historically excluded groups amongst the current 215 club and varsity collegiate cycling programs in the U.S. The programs will strengthen the three schools’ abilities to recruit new students and encourage participation in cycling while developing leadership and collaborative skills amongst the teams.
“We have the ability to change cycling, to grow the sport for everyone, and I’m excited to see where this road takes all of us,” said Vaughters.