March 18, 2011

NCAA Division I Volleyball Transfer Question


I LOVE your blog, and it's been a big help the last few years as my oldest daughter went through the recruiting process.

Unfortunately, it looks like my daughter is going to have to go through it again, and I think we need advice that I haven't seen on the site.

My daughter is a freshman at a top program (in one of the top volleyball conferences) that had a coaching change between her commitment and the beginning of her freshman year. During the summer before her first year the new coach made it clear that he was going bigger than the previous coach, and that he didn't see a role for my daughter. But after a few weeks of practice he was impressed and decided to have her redshirt. Now however he's decided to radically remake the roster and has cut a few players (not my daughter) and is doing everything possible to encourage others to leave - including my daughter.

She has her release from the school, so she's able to go out and see what else there might be for her. It's an incredibly difficult situation for her because her current school is her dream school, and she loves everything about it. But she also loves volleyball, so she's very torn on what to do. I've encouraged her to at least find out what other opportunities to play exist, and after doing that she'll be in a much better position to decide whether to transfer and continue playing volleyball or to stay at the school she loves and give up the sport she loves.

My question is, now that she's received her release - how does she go about getting the word out to coaches that she's available to see what schools might have a scholarship available for a player with 4 years to play 4. Should she just email coaches directly, or is there some service or tool to use that lists girls granted their release?

Thanks for your assistance! R.L.

Thanks for your compliment and sorry you have to go through this again. As I have written about lately, this type of situation is becoming more the norm with new coaches. Back when I started coaching, new program coaches were told to work with what we had and graduate the players through, but that has all changed.

Your SA's situation is a bit unique in that she is at a top Volleyball program in an elite Volleyball conference. So many programs are focusing on height versus anything else. There are still a few programs which do recruit ball control/overall talent and give up some inches. Many mid-major programs are going the combo route with recruiting a few giants and then some ball control kids to balance everything out. This philosophy is do-able at the mid major level and with 12 subs you can front/back them. But, the power conferences have the ability to get height and ball control in one player. This is what sets them apart; having the best of both worlds on their rosters.

Any time there is a coaching change, there will be a transition in philosophy and this will only be magnified in power conference programs. As Women's Volleyball programs assume the mindset of the basketballs/footballs, we see more of this 'changing' roster. In a very small sense, she is fortunate that she has not been outright cut, as this is now the common protocol for the power conference teams when there is a roster change. It is a unsettled time in College Volleyball.

My specific feedback:

1. She is being 'encouraged' to leave, which is different than being cut, even though it is an uncomfortable situation.

2. If she stays, she may be eclipsed by the 6'3" version of her which will be brought into the program in the next year or so.  This will result in limited playing time and having to fight to be a practice player and make the travel squad.

3. As she is not being 'cut', she can stay focused, keep grinding to get better and enjoy the benefits of being a student-athlete at an elite level academic institution.

4. If she wants to get on the court, and not have the constant subtle pressure to leave, then finding another school will be the avenue.

5. By simple association with a top program in an elite conference, she should have a number of options but there are two concerns: A) the 2011 is rapidly running out of scholarship opportunities, B) she may well need to leave her current geographic region and travel a bit to find a comfortable current openings.

6. You can do all of this yourself and I think would be better served to do so, than using a service. Same principles apply to recruiting as if she was any other PSA searching for a home; contact a bunch of schools (don't be limited in geography or conference), give a brief intro into her situation (there is no negativity as other college coaches know roster changes happen with coaching changes and a top team wanting to go with more height makes sense), include her NCAA ID number, and a copy of her current transcript w/her release (these are all attachments in the email) and then offer to link them or send them to a video tape (she can make this in practice one afternoon).

The biggest thing is a decision needs to be made; she can't stand with one foot in each camp. She needs to make a choice to stay or make a choice to find another home. If she decides to find another school, she needs to start sending out contact emails ASAP (like right now) to as many DI schools as possible and keep an open mind to any other program which expresses an interest.

She has 4 years of eligibility and she has not gone too far down the academic path - She will have many opportunities and even though it stinks to have to go through this again, this has become an unfortunate side effect of our sport.

1 comment:

  1. This is EXACTLY what my daughter is going through right now, thank you for the advice!


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