World Chase Tag (WCT) has integrated parkour and the childhood game of tag into a professional sport. In 2021, WCT averaged 42 million digital viewers across different social media platforms and ESPN for their championship tournaments.
With the sport’s popularity increasing internationally, NCAA Commissioner Charlene Brown said it was a “no-brainer” to add tag to the NCAA Division I sports catalog.
Brown said, “World Chase Tag is a growing industry. We [the NCAA] like to offer the best opportunities for our student-athletes, and I think this is a new and exciting sport that will promote competition and highlight exceptional athletes.”
In the fall of 2023, the university will add a men’s and women’s tag team, which will become the school’s first Division I program.
Scholarships will be available for the incoming athletes. As of now, Assistant Athletic Director Rustin Nicegeir is interim head coach, with the process for hiring a new head coach still ongoing.
Nicegeir said, “It was unfortunate that some of our teams ended their seasons the way they did. Hopefully, this new sport will increase winning streaks, profits and excitement about Cap athletics.”
Over the summer, the athletic department will be installing the 40 foot by 40 foot arena, called the Quad, on Schneider Lawn. This is a strategic move that will encourage those walking along East Main Street to stop by and watch. Also, building the Quad on Schneider Lawn will finally make good use of that space.
Brown said the NCAA will follow a similar format to professional tag. Each team will be comprised of 14 student athletes, with six competing in each round. Every chase will begin with an evader and chaser. Whichever athlete wins the round will stay on as the evader. A point will be awarded to the team who evades capture for the duration of the round.
One way the NCAA will differ from WCT rules is that rounds will last 25 seconds instead of 20 seconds, and there will be a 30 second rest period in between chases. The evading team will have the option to waive the 30 second rest period; and, if they win the round, they will earn three points.
Each school within the regional conference will host a tournament and the top two universities from each conference will go on to compete for the national championship in Speed, North Carolina on Oct. 2, 2023. As tag is an up-and-coming sport, there are only expected to be about 20 teams that will compete in the 2023 season.
For Columbus, WCT is not a new sport. Earlier this month, the Arnold Sports Festival hosted the WCT6 Pan American Championship for the Americas in the Greater Columbus Convention Center. It attracted many fans who eagerly watched some of the best professional stunt people, Ninja Warrior stars and other athletes who perform at a high level.
With this previous presence of the sport, the greater Columbus area will be ecstatic to welcome Capital to the WCT community and support its growth.