January 22, 2009

Volleyball Recruiting Travel Plans

A question from a reader that I am also asking myself:

Given the dynamic changes in venues, what are your recruiting event plans this year--AAU-Nationals in Florida, JVDA Nationals, USAV Nationals, a collection of USAV Qualifiers, some big club showcases, etc? I know our club will be sending teams to AAU in Orlando, JVDA in Louisville, and a couple large regional events.

Thanks so much! I look forward to your next update. Hopefully, your spring season goes great.


I am still trying to figure out exactly where to recruit this year. As Nathan has illustrated there are a bunch of events to pick from and added to this dilemma is the pending budget cuts. All universities are having budgets 'adjusted' and athletic departments will shoulder a large portion of these cuts because many of our dollars may not be spent yet. I am still awaiting a meeting with my athletic director to learn just how much of my remaining budget will go bye-bye.

Most college coaches try to get a mix of local, regional and Qualifiers each recruiting season. Fortunately or not, the year ending events like USA Junior Nationals, JDVA Nationals and AAU's
will occur after the budget year has rolled. I suspect we will be faced with the same dilemma in July which we are facing this spring.

I am not familiar enough with the complaints/concerns about USA Volleyball, but something must have occurred for the formation of the viable JDVA competitions and the increased popularity of AAU's. I know my last trip to the USAV Junior Nationals was disappointing and got me thinking about other 'championships' to attend. If the timing is work-able, I could see coaches doing AAU's and USAV since they are both in Florida, but I have not confirmed dates.

I do know that all of us will have less money vis a vis last year and recruiting is the one area that will be hit hardest. Miami is not cheap to get to or stay at (unless you are in Florida) and I will be very focused about trying to get as much recruiting bang for my recruiting buck.

A thought is to skip the various 'championships' all together. You figure by the time the July tournaments roll around, college coaches have already seen all there is to see with regards to prospective student athletes. While many coaches may be 'baby-sitting' kids that have committed, it is a bit early for most programs to be pressing younger PSA's for commitments. Even if a team has already locked up their recruiting classes for the next 10 years via unofficial visits, the PSA's will still likely wish to take an Official Visit and these are not cheap trips.

By and large, I believe the budget situation will force the majority of programs to be focused on attending tournaments which yield the best opportunities to successfully recruit attainable PSA's. For example, Cal Poly is not going to attend a small tournament in Bakersfield to just see if there is a player or two with talent. Conversely, Middle North Dakota Poly is not travelling to the Finals of the Tour of Texas. When budgets were better, you might see a few college programs visiting local tournaments which were a long ways from campus to see new PSA's, but I think those days are over. The big boys (I will use a gender mis-reference because the Final Four teams are still exclusively male, all respects to Mary Wise) can still recruit where and when they need to recruit.

I guess to answer Nathan's question, I will be attending local/regional tournaments where I know there are players open to the thought of attending my school, along with one USAV National Qualifier and I have not decided about any July championships. As for other programs, it depends on how badly they get hit with budget cuts, but I would think the immediate impact would be an
elimination of a National Qualifier attendance since out of region Qualifiers are expensive to attend.