December 14, 2009

Options for Older College Player

Dear Coach,
I am interested in playing volleyball at the college level. I've played my entire life and was to play Division 2 (at Palm Beach Atlantic University) until I got into a car accident. Since, I have been a full time worker and more recently, enrolled back full time in school. I play in several leagues in my county as well as AA and Co-ed beach. I am interested in going to UF for grad school. I've contacted the volleyball recruiting office at UF already and was told that I need to be accepted to UF and submit a videotape. I am 5'2" and have played entirely as defensive specialist and at times libero. What is the best way to showcase my skills on video? Are there any other tips you can give me on promoting myself as a great defensive specialist?
Sincerely, Gina

I commend you for setting your sights high and wishing to play at a Top 25 program while you are in graduate school. As you pursue this goal, here are some observations and suggestions:

1. If you are in a position to consider graduate school, then you are probably 21 years old or older. Per NCAA rules, your 'clock' starts when you are 21 and play volleyball with any organized team or league. So, by your question, even though you did not play at Palm Beach Atlantic University and are still eligible (simple version) to play NCAA athletics, you may have inadvertently used a year or so of eligibility by competing with other volleyball teams.

* FYI - The NCAA says Division I Student-Athletes have 5 years to compete 4 (on rare occasion, a 6th year is granted for injury or extreme situations). For Division II, the SA is able to use 10 semesters, but without a time clock (I am not 100% sure on this though).

2. Also, even more of a concern for eligibility, you need to find out if you have any eligibility left because your clock may have started when you began college - Believing again, you are in a position to start graduate school means you finished your undergraduate studies.

3. Before you move forward with the University of Florida, or any program for that matter, you need to determine if you have any eligibility left. To do this, you must contact the NCAA Clearinghouse (just google NCAA Clearinghouse) and explain to them your exact situation. Even though the NCAA Clearinghouse gets a bit of reputation as the bad cop with eligibility, they also understand unique situations like yours and try to do what is right.

4. Should the NCAA determine you do have eligibility left, then I would widen your horizon a bit as your consider your academic and athletic future - Just don't focus solely on the Gators.

5. The reality is that an elite program like Florida has many, many talented players wanting to go there. Combined with their elite volleyball status, Florida is also a good academic institution and a public school located in a state which supports high school volleyball. All this adds up to the odds of a defensive specialist earning a roster spot a long shot - especially one that was looking at playing Division II and has not played elite level volleyball for a number of years.

6. Once again, should the NCAA Clearinghouse say you are good to go, then approach finding a college volleyball program just like a high school player - Market yourself to programs which have your academic major; or in your case, graduate degree. I would suggest taking a read through of my Recruiting Plan post(s) with emphasis on the Senior Year - Some of this post won't apply to you, but much of it may.

7. To do this (and also to market yourself to the Gators), you must put together a very good video tape, because it is not like coaches can see you at the Atlanta National Qualifier or at AAU's in Orlando. Basically, you need to film yourself passing in every position, short and deep and then playing defense in every position with all types of attacks. With your unique situation, you must provide too much footage as opposed to not enough. In this situation, quantity is as important as quality.

8. Remember that Division II rules allow you to try-out for a team or practice with them, but this is not allowed for Division I.

I sincerely wish you the best of luck as you chase this dream. First and foremost, you must find out via the NCAA Clearinghouse if it is even possible.


No comments:

Post a Comment

Please stay positive or at the minimum present constructive criticism - Negative comments or attacks upon other reader's opinions will not be posted.