June 23, 2011

College Volleyball Coaching Change and Walk On status

My daughter (class of 2011) was being recruited by a small DI school, a school she selected for many reasons, but a main reason was her passion for playing volleyball and the opportunity to be a student athlete. 

The coach did not offer her a scholarship, but he did tell her he would hold one of his walk on positions for her. She verbally committed to the school and was brought in for an official visit. After the visit, the coach told her he thought the visit went great, and as soon as the spring season was over, he would get together with all of us to sign any papers that need to be signed. 

Shortly after this call, my daughter received a call from the coach letting her know he was leaving the program. I followed up with a call to the athletic department to see where my daughter stood, as we had not signed any paperwork. I was told by the assistant director that they were currently searching for a coach, and they would bring my daughter in for the preseason and give her a try out. We understood from the recruiting coach that she was guaranteed a position, just not a scholarship. 

Can you please tell me if this program is under any obligation to honor the verbal commitment to my daughter? She obviously wants to go to this school, but also did not consider any other options once she made the verbal commitment. I look forward to your response so I can deal effectively deal with the situation soon. J.K.

That is a tough situation.  Verbal commitments are just that - words that one hopes will be honored.  I am disappointed that the assistant AD said "try-out" considering your daughter sounded like a recruited walk on player.  Unfortunately AD's have become out of touch with regards to SA's - They are more concerned with trying not to break (or get caught breaking - USC, Ohio State, Michigan, UConn, Memphis, etc) rules and raising monies.
This is a tough spot for your daughter and it is hard to provide positive advice - Technically the school is under no obligation to honor the verbal'ed walk on position promised by the coach. And, this late, finding another roster spot is tough.  I would have hoped that the departing coach would have informed the athletic director who is the supervisor for Volleyball that he had promised a walk-on position to an incoming athlete and this position offer should be honored for at least the freshman season.
The reality is you are kinda stuck where you are.  My suggestion is to stay positive, plan on arriving to the pre-season training in the best possible physical and Volleyball condition and have a great 'try-out'.  If your daughter has talent, a positive attitude and can make the college team better, even if it is just in practice, then she will be on the team.  College coaches, even though we may only look like we are running on a 40 watt bulb, will be smart enough to take a talented, positive walk on player.
Also, you need to be aware that the university may hire a complete idiot who your daughter will not want to play for no matter how great the school.  Control what you can control , which is being a great volleyball player, keeping up communication with the athletic department, and contacting the new coach to introduce yourselves and relay the fact you are arriving as a walk on player and greatly appreciate the opportunity to demonstrate what you can bring to the team.
Again, this is a tough spot and I encourage you to keep it positive, to be active in communication and for your PSA to stay focused on being the best volleyball player possible.
Good luck!


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