December 21, 2007

College Coaches coaching Club Volleyball

A good question from a reader:

Hey coach. I was wondering if a Division I or Division II coach can coach a club team that has two players they recently signed to play on there college team for the following season? Thanks! Becca

This is a good question and one that can be a bit confusing. On the surface you may think that it would be a possible conflict of interest to have college coaches interacting with Prospective Student Athletes (PSA's). It is my understanding that in Men's and Women's Basketball, it is expressly against the rules to have any coaching of PSA's by current college coaches, other than at camps.

After reviewing my understanding of the rules, via the NCAA web site (rule found here) there are only two restrictions for Division I coaches - 1) All players on the specific club team that the college coach is coaching must reside within a 50 mile radius of the institution, 2) During a Dead or Quiet period the college coach cannot go to an off-campus tournament, only practice.

For a Division II coach, the rule says that the club players must come from a 100 mile radius and there is no qualification of activities during a Dead or Quiet period.

To answer your question, yes it is allowed per NCAA rules.

A number of college coaches have concerns about this situation because of the recruiting implications - if the assistant coach from State University is constantly interacting with the PSA and parents, thus developing a relationship, does State University gain a recruiting advantage over City University? In addition to recruiting on a college coach's club team, this association with club volleyball allows the college coach who coaches club to have a significant number of free recruiting trips (both free in terms of the college not paying for the trip, and free from an oversight of NCAA rules).

Advocates of the rules feel that the benefit of providing knowledgeable coaches to the club volleyball system is a positive; it provides skilled instruction to many different age groups and it allows assistant coaches to gain some measure of head coaching experience.

There has been talk of limiting the age groups or date ranges that college coaches can coach club volleyball, but as of now, these rules are what is on the books (or Internet in today's age).

I disagree with the current NCAA rules for two reasons - 1) College Basketball does not allow this interaction, thus they look above the high school/club version of their sport and while we are viewed at the same level, thus not as professional, 2) Athletic Department administrators realize that assistant coaches can earn extra money coaching club volleyball, thus assistant coach salaries are lower than should be.

My earnest desire is that college volleyball (that means everyone involved with college volleyball) act like a big-time college sport. There is saying that I heard, "You teach people how to treat you", if we don't teach people that we are an important sport, then we will never be treated like an important sport.