December 15, 2014

Walk On to Volleyball Scholarship Question #1456

Friends daughter is doing nicely as a frosh at a Big East school.   They offered her two (2) of four (4) years.  She is 5’ 0”, defensive player, seems to be a great fit.  Has played plenty this current year, hopes to take over the libero job one day.

Friend wants to ask coaches for an additional year?  He has not asked yet.  He is asking me what I think.  I suggested your blog.

I’m sure you’ve heard this question a million times.



No harm in your friend asking but the odds are that the answer will be NO.  Libero's are cheap and no matter how well a VolleyFamily may think that their daughter is doing in the position, there is always another Libero out there who will do just as well for less financial support.

Economics 101 comes into play with Liberos - Supply exceeds demand.  There is a deep supply of quality liberos; athletes who have played that position since day one, shorter setters with good ball control, short OH's with good ball control, managers who now want to play, etc.  The Libero position seems to be the catch all for volleyball positions in general - Not tall enough?  Play Libero.  Don't jump too high?  Play Libero.  Not enough power on the attack?  Play Libero.  Pony tail not long enough?  Play Libero.

This economic reality results in DI college coaches being able to manage liberos on partial career scholarships - The term I use, is "walk on to scholarship".  The cut throat college volleyball coaches will make the same deal with a number of liberos and the one who rises to the top after a couple of years, actually gets the athletic scholarship while the others get cut.  

Back to my answer, tell your friend to ask but not to expect.  And, also tell you friend's daughter to keep playing hard every year because the "walk on to scholarship" promise is nothing more than words; if she is not playing at a high level, if she is not contributing as the top defensive player, then there is no guarantee of those last two year's being paid.


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