Since 1976, there has been a single governing body for college boxing—the NCBA.
But now, the fledgling US Intercollegiate Boxing Association (USIBA) has entered the college boxing arena and is challenging the veteran National Collegiate Boxing Association (NCBA). The winner will be the predominant league in college boxing.
The USIBA was formed in the Summer of 2012 by college boxing coaches and student leaders who sought the most ethical, safe, and utmost positive experience for their teams.
USIBA’s mission is to be the preeminent competitive intercollegiate amateur boxing league in the United States. By re-introducing boxing back into the college and university system, USIBA seeks to reestablish boxing as an ethical, important, and relevant collegiate sport while increasing the overall competitiveness of the entire amateur boxing system in the United States.
The driving force behind the USIBA is its president, Luke Runion, who has plenty of boxing experience. He won a national championship as a heavyweight boxer at Penn State in 2003 and was a member of the US National Team in 2006 – 2007. He now coaches boxing at his alma mater, the University of Maryland.
Runion is enthusiastic and optimistic about the future of the USIBA. We asked him a few pertinent questions.
How are you different from the NCBA?
There are many differences. Our biggest difference is that we will be integrated with our parent organization, USA Boxing. We will support them so we both can grow together and improve the amateur boxing system in the US. The NCBA acts independently from USA Boxing.
How will you improve on the NCBA?
I was the registration chair of the NCBA from 2008-2009. The NCBA registers approximately 500 athletes each year, but for the 10 years I have been involved they have not held a Nationals without using byes. There are even issues with filling brackets and participation at regional tournaments. This is because coaches intentionally hold back their less experienced boxers. This practice does not ensure safe participation for all athletes.
We will follow USA Boxing’s rules and have both novice and open divisions so inexperienced boxers can compete safely and develop progressively into the open class division. Currently, a boxer with one bout could potentially compete against a boxer with more than 20 bouts.
Also, some schools are allowed to have intramural tournaments and some are not. Those intramural bouts do not get recorded on campus. This is a safety risk when matching boxers. USIBA will allow all clubs to host intramural tournaments and require that these bouts be recorded and administered under USA Boxing rules.
And finally, Runion added,
More than 10% of the NCBA’s athletes are women. The NCBA offers no women’s championships, even after the Olympics allowed women’s boxing. We are going to give women’s boxing the respect it deserves.
The USIBA has recently applied for affiliation with USA Boxing and is currently waiting for a decision.
In the future, we may have both of these affiliations coordinating college boxing in the US. But there is also a possibility that the USIBA and the NCBA could merge.