August 11, 2010

College Volleyball Recruiting Question

Hi Coach,

My daughter's a rising Senior and is a short but scrappy Libero/DS.

She's had quite a bit of activity on BeRecruited and has been talking with a handful of coaches (about 5 w/varying levels of interest) but things have gotten really quiet in the last couple weeks. (Maybe all the coaches are either preparing for the coming season or on vacation?)

A Division III coach has expressed interest in having her on the team, but the price tag of the school along with their very tight academic requirements might leave that option on the table.

She got some very complimentary feedback from a Division II coach who's camp she attended, but there may not be a position available for her there.

There have already been some 2011 signings announced as well as I have read that Libero/DS positions rarely get scholarship money.

Is it too late to still be considered for any scholarship opportunities or is it your opinion that most coaches have already decided on 2011?

Not sure whether to panic, change our strategy (ie. Junior College) or just keep plugging along.

Thanks for your help and advice.

A Stressed VolleyMom ;)

Thanks for the questions VolleyMom and I hope my answers can help a bit. I will try and answer them as they appear in your e-mail:

1. Later July is a rather quiet time in the recruiting world because college coaches have been hammering along and all the National Championships happened in earlier July, so we are trying to get some fresh air.

- What recruiting that we are doing is hosting Unofficial visits for the rising Junior and Senior classes, in addition to updating the 593 athletes we added to the database from the 11.75 age division.

- Camp season has hit with full fury, which is also a de facto recruiting opportunity, so our energies are upon managing this.

- Paperwork of untotaled totals because there is always something to fill out or complete for admissions, the conference, housing, the NCAA, etc.

- Helping incoming players understand how our college does things.

- Gotta have a vacation so we don't go postal upon our arriving team.

2. Division III can be spendy, but it can also be a great deal. Not every Division III has crazy admissions standards and demand the mortgage on your house - Some are a great opportunity to play NCAA volleyball while still having a well rounded collegiate experience. Don't chalk your Division III exploration up to this one school.

3. Don't put too much weight into camp compliments - I know this may be a harsh thing to say, but all college coaches go into 'camp mode' which is much different than "college volleyball" mode. Camps are a business (even though some schools have the luxury of using this time frame for effective recruiting) and to this end, much of what is done/said is done to encourage business.

- Division II can provide a good combination of academic, athletics and various financial support opportunities for VolleyPSA's. I think this classification may provide the most financial support avenues for PSA's.

4. A great number of 2011 commitments have been made (the 'signing' will not occur until the Early or Late Signing Period which comes during the school year of 2010). But, there are still plenty of opportunities left in this class, so don't fall prey to the runaway fear of nothing being available in NCAA schools for 2011. The just completed 2010 class saw many players receiving NCAA DI full scholarships into April.

- Libero's/Defensive Specialists do receive athletic scholarship support, but the number of such players receiving scholarships is less than other positions. For example, I don't think many DI schools will scholarship two Liberos, because of the need for attackers; but, DI schools will scholarship 9 attackers.

5. I believe there are a significant number of scholarship opportunities within NCAA schools. NCAA Division I will still be actively recruiting the 2011 class through the fall and re-amp the efforts after the end of the first semester because stuff always happens. DII and DIII schools will continue to be focusing on the 2011 class, as they don't get as silly ahead as the DI programs. Also, remember that DII can package scholarships from a number of sources, DIII provides non-athletic scholarships (athletics is just one avenue of financial support), and even NCAA Division I programs can point you in the direction of non-athletic scholarships if you wish to consider walking on.

6. Keeping ALL options open is a good philosophy - There are five avenues to college volleyball; NCAA Division I, Division II, Division III, NAIA (4 year schools) and Junior College. By staying open to all possibilities, while keeping active in the communication process, you will have a better chance of finding a future home. Keep sending out videos, keep whatever recruiting sites you employ updated with information, keep being aggressive in reaching out college programs of each and every level.

Don't panic and stay the course - The challenge is your daughter plays a position where there is an abundance of your daughter (short, scrappy DS). Our sport is so popular, there are many, many talented players who must 're-locate' to the Libero/DS spot to move up into the college ranks because so many players are tall!

I am confident that your perseverance will be rewarded, as long as you keep an open mind about all possibilities.

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