January 8, 2011

College Volleyball Recruiting and Academics

Hi Coach!
First, I'd just like to say that your website is great!
My daughter is currently a junior in high school. She has been a starter on her high school team since her sophomore year. Her team made it very far in the playoffs both years. She has been playing club since 7th grade, but not at the national level. Her club team is high in the standings, but not at the top. She is 5'6 and a setter. Her skills are very good, but she is not very tall and does not have a great hit/vertical jump. What is the chance of her playing at a Division 1 school? What about Division 2? What more does she have to do to achieve this goal?
She is also very smart and wants to go to a school that has great academics. Academics are definitely her first priority. How much do schools consider academics when selecting their rosters? How hard is it to play for an acclaimed academic Division 1 or 2 school, especially with her volleyball skills? For example, how hard would it be for her to play at an Ivy league school or a school of equal status if she had the right academic qualifications?
Thank You! D.

Thanks for the compliment about the site - I have a bunch of Q's waiting to get answered so let me hit you with the quick answers to your questions

1. DI is probably out because of height and limited jump, but maybe lower DI if she is just unreal quick with great hands and a great mind. There is also the possibility, if she has great skills of a DI running a 2 setter offense with her - this style kinda goes in and out with coaches.

2. DII is more likely but for many VolleyFamilies, low DI and upper DII are interchangeable and I would almost go so far as to say that DII is better because the upper DII's receive better support and are not a throw away sport like in low DI.

3. The best thing she can do is too keep getting better; faster, stronger, volleyball smarter, better defense, better serving, better leadership, etc. As for non-physical, she needs to be very aggressive about getting her name out to potential programs and lots of video and even more patience - There are a bunch of 5'5" to 5'7" setters who are talented and are just looking for a place to play.

4. Academics for DI rosters have no consideration other than to be eligible per NCAA rules. For DII, it impacts scholarship support but no impact upon roster selection.

5. Academic elite DI's don't consider grades unless it is Ivy League schools. DII may consider a bit more, but usually if a school is really elite and not DI, they go to the DIII
category because of the focus on academics.

6. The issue with the Ivy League or the couple of other DI's of elite nature (Stanford, Duke, Rice, etc) is that there are so many talented players who are smart and are either willing to pay their own way to an Ivy League (the league does not offer athletic scholarships), or are talented and tall, thus get the offer at the scholarship elite schools. Even if she has the right academic qualifications, she will be competing against 100 other kids with the right academic qualifications.

I suggest a decision needs to be made - If she want to be DI at an academically elite school, then she would really need to consider being aggressive in her walk on pursuit (again, lots of talented players will also be working towards getting a walk-on spot at elite schools just to have the honor), actually you almost need to be more aggressive than normal.

If she wants to receive athletic scholarship support, then she should concentrate on low DI and DII. If she wants to focus on academics, and actually play NCAA Volleyball, then DIII would be the best option.

Hope the Quick Answer helps.

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