December 14, 2010

College Volleyball or College Student

My daughter (a junior) is being actively recruited by mid level collegiate programs. She also has a couple of dream schools with very strong volleyball programs but is under no illusion she would be able to play for these schools. As a non PSA, applications are due late December of her senior year with acceptances in the Spring (even early action/decision is too late). The schools she is being recruited by have their classes wrapped up by the time she needs to apply as a non PSA. She wants to have the choice of dream school admittance as a non PSA or a PSA
and play. How does she manage this situation?

Thanks, MC

I would ask the question; does she want to play collegiate volleyball? I mean really want to be a collegiate athlete?

Whether as a walk on or scholarship player in a NCAA Division I program, and for that matter any collegiate environment, demands a significant physical and emotional time commitment. Because of the academic "commit/early decision" process, the avenues of sports and school may be mutually exclusive during the decision process.

1. If the answer is YES, then move forward aggressively with selecting the college/university which best fits the parameters most important - Academic rating, geographic location, quality of program, size of campus, personality of team/coaches - Each of these categories should carry a certain percentage of importance.

2. If the answer is yes, if I can walk on at my dream school, then move forward aggressively with the target of getting accepted into the dream school and securing a position with the volleyball program as a walk on. This can be done by contacting the coaches, explaining the goal, providing video tape, making sure they are aware of your club schedule, etc. The majority of college coaches will NOT SAY NO to a talented walk on player who is coming to that school just because of the academic rating. If you tell the coaches that you just want to be a part of the team, you have no expectations of a scholarship, and are willing to do whatever it takes to contribute (and you have talent), the coach will say yes.

3. If the answer NO, it is not something that is of paramount importance, then it is time to drop volleyball and focus on the academic avenue - If she considering elite academic institutions, they will most likely have demands and opportunities which mandate a student's complete focus.

I give these examples because college volleyball is something that a PSA-SA must be completely committed to and goal oriented. It is a great life and one I would not have traded for anything, but it is DEMANDING in so many ways.

As there is no law or rule saying otherwise, there is nothing to keep your daughter from committing to a volleyball school in her Junior year, then changing her mind to go to an academic school her Senior year. The coaches at the school would not be too happy to lose a committed scholarship player and I don't know if this is a morally acceptable behavior for your family/daughter, but this is your daughter's life and her life only.

Other than banking the volleyball school and still pursuing the dream school, I don't think you can manage two divergent college efforts without drama. And unless you are getting an Academy Award for Best Actress, drama is rarely a good thing!

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