June 16, 2014

Most Liberos Do Not Receive Scholarships?

Dear Coach,

I have followed your site for the last couple of years and I have found it very informative and helpful.  I’ve also bought your book “Inside College Volleyball”.  A commenter posted the above comment (title of post) on one of your posts, and it was disappointing to read.  Is this true?  I understand Liberos are often the last to be recruited, but to learn most don’t get scholarships would be disheartening.  I guess the position just is not as valued as the other positions in volleyball.  My daughter is very passionate about this sport and works very hard at it.  She has aspirations to play in college and was going to begin working on the recruiting process soon.  She wanted to use her passion to help pay for her education, but that may not be realistic.  Since she was aware the Libero has to work harder to be recruited, she was looking at several avenues to assist her in the recruiting process; however, now I question whether it is worth the investment?  Could you please provide some insight on this?

Thank you,

Thank you for folioing the site and appreciate you purchasing a copy of Inside College Volleyball!!!

The comment by a reader was a broad statement, and broad statements should be viewed as just that; broad.

NCAA Division I teams are allowed 12 athletic scholarships, which cannot be cut up and given out as partial scholarships.  NCAA rules say that each volleyball team may have 12 heads on scholarship (NCAA Division I Volleyball is a Head Count sport), so each player gets a full athletic scholarship.  

Because of needing a variety of positions, NCAA DI teams will tend to have only 1 Libero on scholarship, and never more than 2.  Because of the number of substations allowed, coaches want more than 1 or 2 Liberos/DS's on the team, so they allow a number of walk ons in this position.

But, but, but, this is just for NCAA Division I volleyball.

Division II, NAIA and JC's give out partial athletic scholarships (of varying amounts) which are combined with academic, merit and need based scholarships to create a scholarship package.  Within these categories, teams will have a few Liberos/DS's all on some scholarship amount, and if the player brings in strong high school academics, then these packages can often reach near the full scholarship level.

NCAA Division III does not allow athletic scholarships to be awarded, but players may receive academic, merit and need based scholarships.  In addition, having the athletic component on the application, may be key to a student gaining admission to some of the academically elite schools.

If you have read my site, then you know that I have strong reservations about players choosing DI because of the unsettled nature of DI athletics and volleyball, especially to choose DI as a walk on athlete. 

Stay the course, keep working on her skill development (coaches recruit talent; if they think a player can make them better, then they will recruit that player), and then start reaching out to a wide variety of colleges to allow that wonderful thing called 'choice'.

Good luck!

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