Hi Coach! My daughter signed a NLI at a DII school for Fall of 2013. We just found out the coach was fired. I know the NLI is to the school and is binding for her first year. She was "offered" (via email) a scholarship for four years with the money increasing each year. I know her NLI was only for year #1 and a new one is signed each year. Is the school and new coach bound to honor this 4 year offering? In your experience, what is the likelihood that a new coach would not renew a player after the first year they are there? Are the scholarships renewed in the spring for current players? Thanks and you are the greatest thing to ever happen to college volleyball and recruiting. M.M. (please note, last sentence put in by The Coach!) Sorry you have to go thru the new craziness of college volleyball recruiting and coaching changes. Because AD's have shifted to focusing on the new coach, and not the current/incoming players, it lends itself to a huge amount of stress for families. Of course, there are times that current players should be removed for the program, the Poison Pill is an all too common occurrence on any volleyball team. But, that being said, the AD's have changed SA stance and now routinely defer to the wishes of the new coach.
To answer your questions:
1. The school and the coach are not bound to honor the verbal or email commitments made by the previous coach. The NLI and scholarship papers are the only binding items in this scenario.
2. It has become quite common for new college coaches to make major roster changes upon arriving, but that is not to say all coaches make changes. I would hope that the roster changes in NCAA Division II would be significantly less than Division I. My instinct is that for DII coaches, attitude and effort are critical for a new coach, while for DI, current/anticipated talent drives decisions more.
3. Scholarship Renewals are executed in the later Spring Semester; Athletic Departments have a filing date for scholarships, which I believe is in early May.
I would not stress too much about the 4 year commitment - For instance, what if the new coach is nuts? Would you want your daughter playing in that situation?
Focus on what you can control, and that is the attitude, effort and skill sets of your daughter. If she works hard between now and August to improve her skills, if she arrives to campus in outstanding condition and works hard in practice with a great attitude, then good things will happen!