March 1, 2010

College Volleyball Unofficial Visit Costs

Thanks for all of the helpful insight you share via
I'm currently helping a 2011 Outside Hitter (and her mom) with the recruiting process.
She has sent several e-mails to coaches ... indicating interest in the school/volleyball program, providing video links and giving them her tournament schedule.
Many of the coaches have written back at least once and several have already attended a match or said they will watch her at an upcoming tournament.
I'm guessing that "unofficial visits" will be the next step
It will be somewhat easy for them to visit places that are relatively close to home, however, the player seems to have stronger interest in schools that are not close.

The family truly cannot afford any airfare or hotel stays.
Is this common?

What are the options for a player/parent in this situation?

Thanks - Lori

Glad you like the blog - Just trying to give back a little since college volleyball gave and gives me a lot.

I am glad to hear that the PSA has received solid interest from college volleyball programs. You are correct in that Unofficial Visits are the next step. You pointed out one of the challenges of this accelerated recruiting time frame we all find ourselves in - Unofficial Visits cost money. It is not like Club Volleyball is cheap, and then to add insult to financial injury, if you wish to explore schools outside of driving distance (not that is cheap anymore), it can get very expensive, very quickly.

Back in the day (you know, side out scoring, a double hit was always a double hit, players could pass, I was younger and smarter and prettier and well, you get the point) Official Visits were the vehicle for PSA's to explore possible schools which were out of their region. This is rather the point of an Official Visit - To go see someplace which you may not be able to afford to visit on your own dime. Now, the only players which seem to take old school Official Visits are uncommitted Seniors in high school trying to find a collegiate home.

The reality is that if a player has serious interests in schools outside of her region, then there is a choice to make - Either the family finds a way to get her there or they hope that these same out of region schools have scholarships still available come the first day of the Senior year for the PSA (this is the earliest a school can conduct an Official Visit). Unfortunately, these are the only options.

Obviously this places families into a tough financial position and I also think this places an unfair amount of pressure onto the PSA. For example, the family finds a way to take an Unofficial Visit to an out of region school; knowing that the family had to financial do something it was not comfortable doing, how much extra pressure does this place upon the PSA. Will they take an objective view of their Unofficial Visit or will they arrive predetermined to like the school because the family put forth a chunk of change? When you see the press releases of programs announcing their newest recruiting class, and these player's homes are a long haul away, then you can bet that the PSA's family spent the money to get them there for an Unofficial Visit.

Many schools do have scholarships still available come the Senior year of a PSA's recruiting cycle. But, then again, many schools do not have them either. By and large, the lesser ranked by RPI or conference affiliation a school might be, the more the odds are they would have a Senior scholarship available. But, this is a big by and large; some top flight programs have a late scholarship open up because of academics, injury or homesickness, while other lower rated teams were fortunate enough to secure their top recruits very early in the process.

So, to answer your question
succinctly, the options for your player are to travel now or hope that they can take an Official Visit as a Senior. If the family can't afford airfare/hotel, then that answers the question. I suggest they take an Unofficial Visit or two to regional schools just to get a feel for the process and to have a back up.

Good luck and I hope a solution can be found.

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