January 16, 2012

The None and Done of College Volleyball Recruiting

Hi Coach,

Congrats on coming out and on your new book!  Also, many thanks for your help regarding a previous question we had.   The information you provided was extremely helpful to our daughter.

During 18's club season, do college coaches that are out recruiting ever look at or talk to PSA's that have verbally committed or do they steer clear?

One of our daughter's club teammates verbally committed to a college she loved and prior to making it official by signing, the college coach pulled the verbal offer.  Many of us parents were shocked by this and worried...as were most of the girls on the team as well.  If a PSA has verbally committed, should she continue to explore all options just encase?  Should she let her team recruiter know that if someone approaches and asks about her that she would be interested in learning more?  Or does this open the door to problems with it gets around that she is "still looking" and not that committed?  Until the PSA has signed her contract to play, should she close up her recruiting website and take herself off of the "active" list?

With all the great competition out there, the recruiting experience doesn't seem to be that cut and dry like when my husband or brother were both recruited.  Looking forward to your opinion regarding these questions when you have the time.  Thanks again for all you do.  We all appreciate it!

A grateful VolleyMom

Glad I was able to assist you with your daughter's recruiting path.

The unwritten rule in collegiate volleyball recruiting, is that when a PSA verbally commits to a school, then they are not to be recruited any longer.  What most coaches say, when told that a PSA did not commit to them, is good luck and please call us should anything change.

It is so disheartening to hear confirmation of my None and Done belief.  As you may remember, I wrote a post called One and Done where collegiate programs are cutting players who do not develop at the level wished by the coach, and then they are pushed off after one year.  But, I also referenced the rarer instances of the None and Done, where programs were verbally committing PSA's, but then not sending the NLI's if the PSA did not progress as believed.

Unfortunately, these instances of a collegiate coach pulling an offer, after a verbal commitment, could easily lead to continuous recruiting efforts until the PSA signs the National Letter of Intent, no matter if a verbal commitment has been made.    This scenario is a bit frightening, because it will mandate an almost 'Open Season' on every PSA until they are signed on the dotted line.  The honoring of the concept of a Verbal Commitment makes life easier on all parties.  

But, let's not put the cart ahead of the horse.  Hopefully this was just an isolated incident, for what ever reasons, and is not a trend.  I can promise you that the majority of collegiate coaches still honor their end of the verbal commitment, and want to believe in the honor of such a commitment, from both sides of the equation.  It is tough enough to recruit in today's environment, much less to do it in situations where verbal commitments have no integrity.  

As a parent, focus on what you can control and that is gathering information while your daughter focuses on skill development and reviewing her future collegiate possibilities.  As the grown ups, the parents must filter through the sunshine and smoke which collegiate coaches put forth as part of the recruiting process. This filtering, and gathering of information, will allow parents to find out/discover when a coach may have pulled an offer, or if a coach is known to practice the One and Done, or if a coach is a good person who does things the right way for the players.  

Recruiting Times have changed in this generation.  I don't like seeing families being pressured into early decisions, seeing coaches cut players after one season just because the coach over evaluated them or does not posses the training ability to make them better, and to have collegiate coaches pulling verbal offers before the signing of a NLI is so disappointing. Gone are the days of VolleyFamilies going through the recruiting process slow and steady, with unofficial visits, to home visits, to official visits before making a decision as a mature (comparatively) 18 year old.

As the recruiting game shifts to the younger years, it places families at a disadvantage and this disadvantage is one reason that I joined NCSA Athletic Recruiting; they ONLY have your interests in mind.  Families are at a disadvantage in the early recruiting process because the PSA is a freshman or sophomore in high school, and the parents have not spent years in the mindset of recruiting.  But, the collegiate coaches are very experienced in the arts of recruiting and this creates a disadvantage for families.  You hope that it all works out for everyone, but with the noticeable increase of transfers, this is not happening as much as in the past.  I believe that this site, and NCSA provide valuable information/support to help families manage these challenging scenarios.  While it may take extra time, or money, for families to garner this experienced information, this is time/money well spent versus having to go through this recruiting effort again under the category of collegiate transfer.



Thanks for getting back so quickly!  Yes, you are right...the recruiting game has changed dramatically.  I think the key message that needs to get out to parents today is that they can no longer rely on what they knew it to be from years gone by.  We as a family were very stuck in our thinking that recruiting hadn't changed at all.  We tried to take it nice and slow and nearly got run over in the process.  You could literally feel the panic of the parents and girls at the end of the 16's season.  You could feel yourself getting caught up on the thinking by 17's mid-season that you hadn't done enough.

These days it is wise to use a recruiting service or website that has your daughter's best interest at heart.  Constantly doing your own research, and discovering exactly what your daughter wants from her college experience and being realistic about her capabilities, not falling victim to the other parents/PSA's thinking that if it's not "DI, then it's none."  When it all came to a head, we made a conscience effort to slow down, think things through, and do our homework.  That's how we found you.  I can't tell you enough how often we read through your articles, having long family discussions about all the things club and high school coaches never really tell you about, but you shared online.  You helped us stay sane during an absolutely crazy ride and really gave us the confidence to do what was good for us and not react like everyone else.

A verbal should be an agreement between two parties that have done their best to ask all their questions before they verbally agree to commit to each other.  If you do all of that beforehand, then the NLI should be literally just a formality.  We won't get caught up in thinking that her future college coach will change his mind before she signs.  And you're right, the "open season" on PSA's would ruin it for everyone.  You'd never be able to tell when someone was being honest with you or not.  We'll just keep encouraging our daughter to continue to develop herself into the best she can be so she'll continue to love this fun sport!

Thanks again for your input.


  1. I've seen a couple "none and done" scenarios. However, when I asked a couple questions...the writing was on the wall. Most coaches do a lot of baby-sitting w/ their PSA's. If your DD is not hearing from their future college coach on a regular basis, alarm bells should be going off!
    Our dd's CC emails, calls and comes to watch her play when ever possible.
    And, VBCC, you're dead on...once a recruit verbals MOST recruiters back off with nearly a verbatim email that you referenced. I find vb to be a very classy and loyal bunch (for the most part) unlike the football recruiters. ;)

  2. I agree with your comments and I do hope that this new trend is short lived. I am just nervous that college coaches are finding it easier to recruit than train.


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