May 13, 2011

The Gold College Volleyball site!

Wow! This site is absolute gold! I am going to read every post on it. But I need to take a break and formulate a few questions for you Coach. I hope they are not too redundant.

A little backdrop:  My daughter is a junior in HS playing her first year of club. She is a multi sport athlete, which as it turns out, has most likely worked against her as a volleyball recruit (there’s only so many hours in the day!). She is a three year varsity starter (RS, MB, MB), 1st team All League as a sophomore, League MVP as a Junior. She is 5’11” with an approach touch of 9’8” looking to reach 10’. She is now training as an OH. Her club coach has been pleading with her- and us- for the past three years to play club because of her raw potential (his daughter is a schollie player at a major D1).

We began  marketing her as a volleyball recruit in earnest about two months ago and have found that we are a little late in the process. We did the initial contacts through email with video highlight links and a player profile sent to about a hundred schools.  A few have responded with interest, but as a HS junior and first year club player, we have found that most of the programs have completed their recruiting for 2012. Several D1s have invited her to become a walk-on recruit. A few have invited her to summer camp- one specifically as a recruit.  Our questions are the following:

We’ve considered letting her play at the JC level for a year or two. Would that effectively put her in the recruiting class of 2013 or 14? Is that a common path? Her club coach doesn’t like the idea.

Our other idea is to just let her go to school wherever she wants and let her walk-on tryout. What are the possible long term ramifications--likelyhood of scholarship, transfer eligibility, etc.-- if she does or doesn’t make the team?

Are the recruiting guidelines the same for all divisions? What about NAIA schools and the service academies?

She was contacted telephonically by one D1 program last week, but the rules as I understand them prevent telephone contact until July 1st  between junior-senior years. Is that date incorrect?

Her plans for summer camp are to attend one or two dream schools, and one or two second tier camps. Would you recommend this as an opportunity for more exposure given her late entry onto the recruiting radar?

We have a whole bunch more questions but those are the most pressing.  Thanks a million for taking the time to respond to readers’ questions.  I just started reading the posts and have learned a great deal already.  J.V.

Quick answers, as I know you are playing catch up:

1.  You are not too late, but many scholarships in the '12 class have been allocated.

2. JC is a good option, but only after you have given everything a bit more time with DI and DII schools. Each spring/summer many, many DI's say they are done, only to re-start the recruiting for the next incoming class after the college volleyball season concludes.  Now is slow time in the DI recruiting cycle, as we are all burnt out and just resting.  The college coaches will hit it for a few weeks in June and early July to attend AAU's and Junior Olympics, then we go into camp mode.  Trust me, the '12 class will be recruited hard come next winter. Scholarships always come open and come open with a large number of DI programs; read my post about the Las Vegas tourney here

If you do choose a JC, it can be a great choice - As a NCAA Qualifier, she can spend either one or two seasons at a JC fine tuning her abilities, while knocking out some general elective classes.  As I have written, I think JC's can be a very, very smart choice for VolleyFamilies.  Some Club Volleyball coaches tend not to like JC's because it does not sound as good as saying their players went to a NCAA school.

3. Walk on situations can turn out well, but they can also be quite the risk. As you indicated, what if she does not make the team?  Once she enrolls at college, it begins a number of NCAA rules and limitations.  If she absolutely loves a school for everything the school offers (read, not what the VB offers), then a walk-on option to stay active in the sport can work.  Again, you still have LOTS of time in the 2012 class and if she is a late developer who has a big upside in addition to good athleticism, then you need to be patient and let her develop.

4.  The recruiting guidelines and protocols are not the same.  NCAA DI, DII and DIII all have slight variations of the rules, but are generally on the same page.  The NAIA and JC levels are under a different governing body than the NCAA and have different recruiting rules than the NCAA.  I wrote a post about the NAIA and a NAIA coach wrote in to clarify their recruiting rules, esta aqui. 

5.  The NCAA Division I program broke a major NCAA recruiting rule - Calling or texting Juniors, or younger, in high school is against the rules.  All that DI's are allowed to do with the Junior class is email, postal mail and receive calls.  Unfortunately, more and more DI's are starting to break recruiting rules and hope no-one catches them.  You are correct, once a week telephone calls may be made after July 1st of the Junior to Senior summer.

6. Camps are a gamble.  Some say they work and others, like me, think it is a poor use of funds to be 'seen'. Before your PSA attends a camp, contact the college coaches to find out exactly where they stand with the 2012 class.  If you get a general or vague answer, then they are done recruiting 2012 and just want the camp numbers; they should exactly tell you how many 2012 scholarships are still available and what positions are they recruiting.  I think camps can be a great social experience with good volleyball training, but I just don't see the camps for recruiting exposure as the best use of money.  You may be wiser to join a paid recruiting service to augment your efforts, than going off to a number of 'needle in the recruiting haystack' camps.

Last thing - Take some time to read the Recruiting Plan labels for the Junior and Senior years.  Keep working it, keep sending out video and current information patient, there is still lots of time, even though it seems like you are swimming against the tide.

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