September 18, 2014

College Volleyball Recruiting - The Walk On to Scholarship Offer

Thank you for providing this resource for parents & hopeful VBers! I have gotten more useful information from your site than any other source. Here is my situation:

My daughter is a 10th grader who is a more experienced at basketball, but would rather play VB at the college level. She has 1 year of regional club experience under her belt playing on both 15U and 16U teams last year & earning league all-star honors at the 16U level. She is an athletic 6' 7" Middle.

We recently received an offer to attend her top prospective college as a walk on year 1, with the promise of a 4 year-scholarship thereafter.

I am trying to assess the risks of such an arrangement and how to best respond. If they had offered a full ride she would have no problem verbally committing to this school, since she has made a couple informal visits and likes the coaches/players after attending a skills camp.

My concern is that the offer of a later scholarship is based only on the coaches word and could change based on Injury, new recruit or transfer availability. My understanding is that as an admitted freshman she would not have any of the protections afforded by a NLI in her senior HS year. Ditto for travel, academic support, and training table access which could be pulled at any time.

What should my questions be regarding this offer? We are not in a hurry to accept this but want to respond intelligently and courteously while waiting for other offers or for  a freshman year scholarship slot to become available there.

Thanks for any help you can provide!


Glad to help and I have written about the Walk On challenges in Inside College Volleyball - another good resource for information!

Walk onto scholarship offers make me anxious - Walk onto scholarship offers extended to underclassmen in high school give me hives!!!

Because of your daughter's height, and early recruiting success, I would respectfully decline the walk onto scholarship offer from this program.  Each of the concerns which you have expressed are valid; it is just the word of that one specific coach with no safety net incase of job change, injury, solar flares, etc.

Better to continue the active outreach and management process - With your daughter's particulars and entering the prime 16's club volleyball evaluation year (and recruiting year if you have height and potential), the best thing to do is stay steady with outreach and evaluation.  

Specific to this program's offer, I would respond with a gracious Thank You but No Thank You.  Just indicate that while your daughter enjoyed the visit to campus, your focus is combining the best fit for your daughter with receiving a Full Scholarship.  Families must remember that this is a business; it is a tough business for parents to manage because of the emotions involved in being parents and wanting what is best for your daughter, but I can promise you that for college coaches, it is cold hard math.

After you respond, keep in general communication with this school, as it seems attractive for your daughter.  But, be sure to reach out to many, many additional schools/programs which have the characteristics your PSA wishes for in her collegiate experience as to maximize the 16's club season!

Good luck and thanks for reading!

Coach Matt

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