October 6, 2014

Men's College Volleyball Question

Hi there coach,

I am currently a freshmen at a 4 year university and I am playing on the men’s club volleyball team here because that is the highest level of competition they offer in terms of men’s volleyball. I never had the opportunity to play club or in high school growing up because competitive programs were not offered in my area, however, I would take every opportunity I had to hit the court/sand to work on my fundamental skills.

 Now that I am playing with a club team on a regular basis, I notice a huge improvement in my game as I continue to work at it and get time in the gym with other players who grew up playing the game through their club/high school organizations. I know that many guys get late starts in volleyball because they were never introduced to it from a young age and then have to try to play catch up in terms of their development, so I was curious if it would be possible to make the transition from a few years of club onto an NCAA team. 

Although club isn’t nearly as competitive as the NCAA teams, we still get the opportunity to travel often and compete against many different universities, providing plenty of game experience and filming opportunities. Would it be at all possible to make the jump from a few years of college club to then transferring to an NCAA school to play there? And what would be the steps necessary to take if so? Any information would be greatly appreciated. 

Thank you so much for your time! D.B.

Glad to help and happy to hear that you are enjoying a higher level of competition with men's volleyball. With Inside College Volleyball, I have written about the challenges of men's college volleyball; you may be able to find additional information about the topic!

The challenge in making the transition from club to NCAA is two fold:

1)  NCAA Division I Men's Volleyball has a supply versus demand scenario where supply is huge and demand is low.  There are just not too many DI programs for men's volleyball, but there are thousands of good players looking for a home.  With this situation, unless you are a very, very tall person or an athletic freak, your late start will put you at a disadvantage in recruiting when compared to those CA/HI/PA/PR players which have been competing since diapers.

2)  Since you are enrolled in a 4 year school, you have started your NCAA eligibility clock - you have 5 years to play four years, so by taking a couple of years to develop your skill sets with your club team, you are burning years of playing eligibility with a DI team (not too mention the challenges of being academically eligible because each year gets progressively more difficult to transfer as a result of the necessary minimum progress transfer unit count).

There are opportunities with DIII (non scholarship, expensive schools), I am not sure of exactly how they handle the eligibility clock, but I believe the 5 years to play 4 is valid at DIII also.  

NAIA has men's volleyball as an 'emerging sport' - Not sure what that means, but I would guess this results in a limited number of schools sponsoring men's volleyball and not too much athletic scholarship money if any.

My suggestion is that you focus on what you have - It sounds like you are in a good position with regards to skill development, competition level, ability to travel and you are enjoying what you are doing.  Remember that the grass is not always greener on the other side of the NCAA fence!

Coach Sonnichsen

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