July 25, 2013

NCAA Division II Volleyball Recruiting

Dear Coach,

I have written to you a couple times before and consider your book "the bible of volleyball recruitment"!  I have a couple of questions now that my junior daughter, a setter, is being quite heavily recruited by a few d2 schools.

1.  3 schools have said they are ready to make her an offer in the fall.  Does this seem early for a junior?  Should she wait to see if d1 schools are interested as Sept. 1 is their contact date and she has two more years of club to be "seen"?  Or would they (d1 schools) have made contact through our club by now if they were interested?

2.  One of the schools is very strong in her major, she likes the coaches, the location, went to camp this summer and had a great feeling overall. This is her number one choice, as of now.   Do we still wait until spring to see if something else comes across the radar from a school that would be equally as good, or let her decide early?  Another school, she loves the coaches but it is not as strong in her major but she could always go on to graduate school.

3.  One of the schools has talked about the amount of money they would be willing to offer in general terms.  It is quite substantial and with her academic aptitude, academic scholarships should cover the rest.  Do we use the information as "leverage"  when talking with the other schools about their offers?  Is it sort of a bargaining tool or is that way out of line?

Maybe the bottom line of all of this is, do we wait?  Will coaches move on to others if you don't make an early commitment?  I know your book talks about the athlete being in control, don't feel pressured, etc.  But what if you are cautious and the school passes you by?

I am much more stressed about this than my daughter.  She is enjoying college visits and the fact that coaches think she is "all that" right now! :-)

I look forward to your outstanding advice!

T.L., mother of 4 volleyball girls

Glad to help and thank you for the kind compliments on Inside College Volleyball - I will definitely accept "bible of volleyball recruitment" as a positive reference!

To answer your questions - 

1.  Not in today's recruiting world - It seems all categories of collegiate volleyball are recruiting earlier than before.  It is a natural progression for NCAA D2's to begin offering scholarships in the junior year, especially since the D2's have been able to enjoy earlier contact periods (compared to NCAA D1) the last couple of years.  If these D2 coaches are astute, they can determine which players would make them better, but also not be the 1st recruit on the list of a mid or lower level DI program.

In terms of waiting for contact from DI, that is a tricky question to answer.  DI's will reach out immediately if interested in a player (and many cast a very wide net) at anytime, as they are allowed to send an introductory letter and questionnaire (can be done via email) at anytime.  But, I don't know how many tournaments your setter may have played in which were attended by DI schools?  Broadly speaking, I would say DI's would have sent an introductory contact by now; please note, that the NCAA DI recruiting cycle never really ends and many programs do tend to recruit setters a bit later than hitters.

I think the question you should be asking is, what level does our daughter wish to play and what level are we most comfortable as parents with her playing?

2.  Don't be in a hurry to decide either way; the old saying, 'doubt means don't' applies here.  There are so many other particulars which come into play - geography, scholarship support, ability of the team, opportunity to play early and, and, and job stability of the coaching staff.

3.  Absolutely use one school's scholarship offer as a means to increase the scholarship offer of a second school.  This is business and remember that the money is not the coach's money but it is your money.  Whatever you don't get, you will never get - For the school/program/coach, these are just numbers on a spread sheet.

When you wait, you risk having an opportunity close.  This is the gamble, but the big mistake VolleyFamilies make is they take 'good enough' because they are afraid.  And when they take 'good enough' it often turns into not very good.  

Trust your instincts, work the recruiting process through, do your evaluation and research into the schools/programs - This is the job of the parents; let your kid be a kid and enjoy this once in a lifetime situation.

Coach Matt


  1. My daughter was recruited by a DII school last year and offered a full scholarship. It was in a remote location and far from home. She opted for the second offer of minimal scholarship but in state. The problem is she red-shirted and doesn't see playing time next year as a probability. She desperately wants to play and not watch her way through the next 4 years. How does she get noticed now that she is in college? How will other coaches see her now that she isn't playing club and going to big tournaments. She is a very talented setter. I feel like we really missed an opportunity. Her current coach indicated there is no more money. I feel like there is no investment in her. What's really crummy is this coach knew that my daughter was turning down a full scholarship (found out from other coaches, not us) and led her to believe she would find money her second year and would play. I guess the lesson is you never know.

  2. She has two choices; 1) work harder to try to improve her skill sets as to gain more playing time and maybe additional future scholarship monies, 2) transfer. If she chooses option 2, then I suggest you read many of the posts I have written about the transfer protocols and process, so she can be recruited and hopefully attain that opportunity which best suits her and the families needs.


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