July 24, 2011

College Volleyball - We Can Learn from Women's College Basketball

I am in a camp run, and was reading the weekend edition of the USA Today, dated Friday, July 22nd.  I came across a lengthy article in the Sports section (page 7C) about NCAA Women's Division I Basketball, titled To avoid overlap, NCAA considers women's change and subtitled Tourney dates may slide back.

I won't bore you by reciting the article, but to summarize, it discusses some of the proposals being considered by the NCAA D-I women's basketball committee (one semester season, expanded bracket, tournament dates).  These proposals were a result of a survey sent to member schools.

This illustrates the chasm between the thinking of College Volleyball and the thinking of Women's College Basketball.  The NCAA D-I women's basketball committee is looking at what can be done to place their sport in a more advantageous position for exposure and support, while the NCAA D-I women's volleyball committee has gone AWOL.  I get surveys from the NCAA Women's Volleyball Rules committee which wants to keep making rule changes to justify their existence, but this is minutia and today's sports culture is not interested in minutia. 

The AVCA has taken a huge presence in college volleyball, first by championing television at all costs, which was and is a failure after upping membership fees significantly, and now we are pushing the sands of time through the hour glass as those with power believe Sand Volleyball is the magic pill.

We are approximately 2 weeks from the start of the NCAA Division I Women's Volleyball season with a champion who has taken home four titles in a row, and I am reading about women's basketball....this in itself is disheartening.

Women's Basketball should be our guide, they have shown us the path to prosperity and we don't follow it.  Of course they have the Golden Ticket of Men's Basketball, so they can just whisper "gender equity" and all is granted.  But, they are still being proactive, being #1 in women's sports is not good enough. 

The NCAA D-I Women's Volleyball Committee and the AVCA should be beating down the doors and banging the drums to mandate that the Fall Semester Head Count Sport (Volleyball) is the dominant Fall Sport and the fourth leg of the Flagship Sport table.  We are losing ground to Women's Soccer and we are getting beat by Softball.  These two volleyball representative entities should be focused on the big picture of placing Women's Volleyball on the Marquee!

Did you know that the National Girls and Women's in Sports Day was created in 1987 to honor Women's Volleyball Olympian and legend Flo Hyman?  This great day has been captured and dominated as to become associated exclusively with Women's Basketball.  The annual day is ALWAYS during the women's basketball season!!!!  ALWAYS!!! How did this happen and how come Volleyball is allowing this to continue?  The award is for one of the greatest Volleyball players in history, not only in the United States but in the World.  I had a chance to meet Flo Hyman and watch her play, she was the real deal and her legacy is now for Women's Basketball. 

We must focus on the big picture and not the smoke and mirrors of never ending rule changes and the next hybrid concoction of volleyball.

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