I had sent this question to you a few weeks ago and your reply was you couldn't respond until after 9/1. Here is the original question:
Our daughter is a Junior. She played club for a 16 national team that qualified for JO's in Dallas. We are aware of the NCAA recruiting guidelines about communication between college coaches and PSA's prior to Sept 1 of the junior year. There have been a number of D1 coaches that have watched her team play at qualifiers, the PrepVolley.com Classic and at JO's. The question is how can we get an idea of who is interested in her and who is not? We know of a few coaches that have inquired about her. Can a coach still be interested if they have not made an effort to contact someone about her? She has written letters to her top 10- 12 colleges and has received a reply from about half of them. There seems to be a ton of great programs that offer top notch academics and we are just trying to get as much info as possible in the beginning stages of this process.
I would like to thank Randy for writing back later and understanding that I could not answer his question when originally sent to me. Even with my anonymity and specific efforts not to recruit, the NCAA rules state that interaction via e-mails/letters can only occur after September 1st of a Prospective Student Athlete's (PSA) Junior year.
In terms of your questions, let's take them one at a time.
1. The question is how can we get an idea of who is interested in her and who is not? Review the letters/e-mails that you received before September 1st of this year. NCAA rules allow for an introduction letter and a questionnaire to be sent to PSA's before September 1st. With your daughter having played in some top flight tournaments, she may well have received numerous such mailings.
We need to keep in mind the date - it is only September 2nd. NCAA rules have only opened up for e-mail/letter interaction within the last 24 hours. A letter or number of letters may be in the mail right now. E-mails are quicker to shoot out, but remember that each college program is also in its most important time of the year. Many programs don't have access to a secretary, much less a director of operations, so while recruiting is hugely important, there are so many other things that have to be done this time of the year.
2. Can a coach still be interested if they have not made an effort to contact someone about her? Absolutely Yes! I am one group of coaches that really don't make a lot of courtesy calls to club or high school coaches. Some coaches are constantly working the phones to establish interaction with other coaches. I will call a fellow coach if there is some question I may have about academics, attitude, etc., but I feel okay following my own evaluation of a PSA's talents.
At this early juncture in the '10 recruiting class, the only contact I would be concerned about is what programs/coaches are contacting your daughter via e-mail or letter.
3. She has written letters to her top 10- 12 colleges and has received a reply from about half of them. Even though this is not a question, it merits comment. A 50% percent response rate is interesting - from my experience, combined with the top flight tournaments you said were attended, your daughter is probably contacting schools at the upper end of her playing ability.
For example, if a Fab 50 volleyball player writes 10 schools ranked 15o to 200 in the RPI index, odds are that she will receive 10 responses back. The reverse is also true of a mid-level rated player contacting top 50 programs. With a 50% response rate, I would encourage your daughter to contact another 20 programs that are athletically (volleyball ranking) below the first 12 she wrote. Contacting programs is exactly the correct thing to do and do not hesitate to contact as many as you wish!
I commend you on taking a proactive approach in the recruiting process. You are correct, there are many good academic institutions that enjoy successful volleyball programs. College Volleyball is still a sport that allows for academic/athletic balance while enjoying budget funding that can create a rewarding experience for the player.
Two things that I will caution you about; 1) College Volleyball coaches are extremely busy this time of the year and as much as we hate it, recruiting can take a back seat to team travel (and all the paperwork), team training, managing new players, controlling parents, confirming flights, weather delays/cancellations and on and on and on.
2) Many college programs are slowing down the recruiting process a bit lately. My impression is that while a large handful of top flight athletes are receiving verbal offers and making commitments, many more coaches are being a bit more deliberate in their evaluation of talent - Part of this is we may not know exactly what we need in the next class until see our current team perform. Also, we have all seen some programs lock up good players early and the players never got better; in fact, they may not have turned out to be the best in thier position at the end of 18's club.
Enjoy the high school season and being a Junior - it is a cool time. Come next spring, then it is time to get more serious about this recruiting animal!!