9/1 and the communication doors swing open (at least the front door, as the back door via the clubs is always open!). This is one of the craziest times of the year for college volleyball coaches because the September 1st date is in the middle of the pre-conference tournament schedule (and Labor Day weekend), and not every collegiate volleyball program has a director of operations, much less a 2nd assistant coach.
I can vividly remember the last days of August, thinking that I had to get going to reach out to the junior age recruits - and, all too often because of practice, travel, expense reports, injury reports, staff meetings and I gotta get a haircut, that 9/1 contact date turned into a 9/8 contact date!
Give it a solid 10 days before coming to a judgement of a college volleyball program's interest in your PSA. It is great that a number of programs immediately contacted your daughter, and this is a clear indication of their interest. But, keep that door open for those coaches/programs which are interested, but just have a crazy 'to-do' list this time in September.
With the newer recruiting trend of DI's (even elite DI's) actively recruiting all four years of the high school class, which is a result of the propensity by DI programs to cut players, or for college players to realize what they were sold while a PSA is not the reality of a SA, there will be a bunch of scholarship openings coming to a college volleyball program near you! Even these last two weeks, I have heard from well known DI programs who have said they have a 2013 scholarship open, and are evaluating their options to fill that spot.
I counsel Patience in the Fall (and this applies to all VolleyFamilies who have Junior and Senior PSA's) - Let the fall semester come to a close and the related athletic department matters play themselves out.
1. Many coaches will move on from this fall's school - Either voluntarily or involuntarily. You don't want to commit to a program in September, and then that coach leaves in December - Too many VolleyFamilies are finding out that verbal commitments are only verbal with no commitment by the school.
2. Conference shifts are still settling out - It amazes me all the conference musical chairs we have witnessed these last three years. Most people that it was done a year or so ago, then the music started again. Think about the ability to see your PSA play matches away from their home court - Look at Texas A&M; the SEC is a well funded conference, but now Texas parents don't have the financial luxury of seeing an away conference match at Baylor, or Texas or Texas Tech, etc.
3. Budgets - The economy is still lagging and Athletic Directors are still beholden to the bottom line budgets. In DI, Football and Basketball are exempt from any reduction, so how is the budget balanced? Via the Olympic Sports. This affects the volleyball because the good support a program may enjoy now, could evaporate after the fall semester bills come due.
I think your advice is good, but I would make sure the unofficial visits are close or financially comfortable because these should be viewed as 'meet and greets'. I would hold off on 'serious' unofficial visits until after the New Year. I think #3 is a good one; many times a school will have an opening and will 'remember' your daughter if she reaches out again.
In closing, open the door for late knocking schools and keep up the communications while being aware that a number of changes in your personal recruiting landscape could occur in December because of things completely out of your control.
Coach Matt Sonnichsen