April 27, 2009

NCAA Division I Volleyball Quiet Period

The case of the disappearing DI Volleyball coach - Yes, it is the upcoming NCAA Quiet Period for Division I Women's Volleyball. A Quiet Period, per NCAA rules, is a time frame in which Division I coaches cannot leave campus to recruit or have off campus contact with a Prospective Student Athlete or family.

The May Quiet Period runs from the 1st to the Friday before Memorial Day weekend; the 22nd of May. I will check this end date for sure in the NCAA documentation which is in my office.

So, what does all this mean?

1. Parents and players get a break from really self important Division I volleyball coaches swimming around the courts of tournaments like schools of fish. My favorite display of egos are the assistant coaches from some of the big name schools - Quite a display of arrogance for ball shaggers.

2. Players can go back to (if they have not learned already) playing relaxed.

3. Grandma can stop her vigilant watch on the 15's courts, protecting the freshman from college coaches.

4. Club coaches can relax because Big Name Coach from Big Name School is no longer shadowing their court.

5. Division I assistant coaches won't get sent halfway across the country to scout at some 3 court tournament in which their school won't ever sign a recruit from (not because they are not worthy, but because they are halfway across the country and don't have the academics or volleyball reputation to draw a player that far!), just because the head coach is panicked that the next Logan Tom is playing on some obscure club team and another school could find her first!

6. Head coaches can spend some time with their families because they can't recruit and their team should be in final examinations. The ones with ethics will actually just trust their players to work out and communicate with the strength coaches during May - the ones without, won't.

7. Just because DI coaches can't come stalk you, does not mean you can't go bother them! Unofficial Visits are allowed and this is a great opportunity for you to get onto a campus to check things out. It may be during a time frame in which finals are upcoming or it may be after school has let out, but this may be a great slot in a PSA's schedule because the Qualifiers are done, Regionals are coming up quickly (or done), and there is a slower playing (and hopefully practice) schedule.

8. The Quiet Period does not apply to Division II - So, there may still be a number of NCAA volleyball coaches at your events, but they should not be DI. If you spot a Division I coach at a tournament during the Quiet Period, in uniform (I mean polo), please e-mail me and I will divulge my identity as a reward!!! (maybe - if it is a big enough program!)

May is a great month as a '10 PSA (09 PSA see below and 11 PSA's please go have some fun and DO NOT go visit a school yet!!) because you have the time to get out and see schools. If you have not made your verbal commitment, take this time frame to visit and reflect. Is what is being sold to you is in fact what you are buying? Some coaches are incredible at selling a certain picture, but that is not what you will see when you arrive. Arrive early, with your eyes wide open (and your parent's eyes wide open) to see what the school and the program is all about.

The reality is the Unofficial Visit is now the Official Visit. This is the trip in which you need to take a hard look, as best you can, about what that school has to offer in terms of academics, facilities, future (remember, you are one and half years out from getting on the court), coaching staff, player personalities, etc.

Without sounding dramatic, if you are a class of 09 PSA, May is the month to get it done. By 'it', I mean select your school. Make the best choice possible and move on.

1. By May, the mass majority of scholarship are gone in Division I. There is always a chance something may open up late or a late verbal commitment was changed, but odds are the Division I scholarships are history.

2. If you are set on going DI come Heaven or Heck, then you should start (actually, you should be well along) with securing a walk-on position. In this sense, you should pursue a walk-on position with the same vigor and focus in which one pursues a scholarship spot. Big name schools tend to have a plethora (I don't get to use the word plethora much) of PSA's asking to be walk-ons, so if you want to wear the practice gear (that should be your first goal by the way) of State U., then you need to demonstrate that you would be an excellent walk-on member of the program. Once again, come May, many rosters are set for the next fall.

3. May is not only the time to decide on a school, but it is also time to take a hard look at what you want in your collegiate experience - You may need to consider life outside of Division I. First of all, let me assure you it is a good life!!! Too many players and parents get hung up on the DI moniker. From my experience in DII and DIII, the players have a better balance with school, volleyball and a social life. The travel can be exceedingly less stressful, the amount of edginess from faculty about you being an athlete is less and the competitive energy outside of DI is still intense. Don't think DII or DIII is minor league or second tier; I have coached in environments which would put DI to shame - Intense, lots of noise, crazy passion and energy which I was unprepared for as a coach!

4. Junior College Volleyball is something which every good PSA should consider. There are many good JC programs which could beat many, many Division I teams. A JC is a great alternative because scholarships can be funded better than DII, you have a better opportunity to play immediately and become an impact player, and then after playing one (if you are a NCAA Qualifier) or two seasons, you can jump to a 4 year school better prepared athletically and academically.

What I am getting at, in a long, meandering Sunday night kinda way, is that May is a big month if you are an 09 prospect - Time to decide and go hard at your new future!