January 25, 2009

Men's College Volleyball Playing Opportunities

I had a reader make a valid point about Men's Volleyball that is worth sharing:

I ran across your blog this evening and read a few of the limited number of questions regarding Mens Volleyball. You correctly stated that there are very few "scholarship" opportunities at the DI/DII level, and referred people towards DIII as a potential "back-up" opportunity.

I was curious that you did not mention a much more obvious solution for top quality volleyball, "club" volleyball. Most universities sponsor a mens Club volleyball program. Many of the top level club teams in California and the midwest are superior to their DIII counterparts back on the East Coast. Club teams are a great option for quality high school players who are lack the skill or "name" to earn a scholarship, yet want to attend a large university and continue their career. Club teams operate at many different levels, some have budgets as large as their NCAA counterparts, others are glorified intramural teams, so make sure you contact and research to find the right fit.
Good Luck! ML

ML is absolutely correct and I am grateful for his reminder about College Club Volleyball; I have known quite a few men's players that opted for this avenue to continue their careers.

While I would not wish to disparage the East coast NCAA DIII programs, there are some very strong College Club programs on the West coast and Mid-west that would do very well on the eastside. I have heard that many of these College Club programs do offer financial support, but they don't necessarily call it an athletic scholarship. But, a scholarship is free money no matter how you want to title it.

Much like Division II women's volleyball with the huge variances in funding, an interested player should spend some time doing his research about teams, as ML suggested. While this may be less simple because the College Club teams do not have the structure of the NCAA behind them, a player can find out support by asking about number of competitions, equipment support, per diem, national tournaments, etc.

My recollection of College Club volleyball is that teams will predominantly compete against other clubs from the same region, with an occasional out of region road trip (much like USA Volleyball adult men's teams). There is a College Club nationals, and I believe teams qualify through their regional championship.

ML was also nice enough to share that "NIRSA sponsors the National Championship which includes over 200 teams." I honestly don't know exactly what the initials stand for, but I am sure Google does!

NCAA Men's Volleyball is in a tough position - the scholarship funding is poor, there are a limited number of teams, the operating budgets and salaries pale compared to Women's Volleyball and with the current economy, no programs will be added and I am sure a few are a bit nervous about continuation.

College Club volleyball presents a great option for many, many talented male players that want to play the sport they love while going to school!

Thanks to ML for all of the help!