Thank you for all of the great information in your book and website.
What are the odds of a program accepting you and giving you a scholarship then taking it away they next year and giving it to a superstar? My concern is the cost of the school without the scholarship is not in our budget. My daughter is a 5’ 11” OH that plays 6 rotations and loves defense. Her school and local club teams are not a draw for college coaches. She has had some interest from out of state D2 and in state JC schools. Both say she has D1 potential for a transfer after she gets some college experience.
She does love competitive volleyball but her most important goal is a good degree from a good school. She has excellent grades and our in state University has offered her an academic scholarship for full tuition for 4 years. The scholarship is only available for freshman. If she chooses a volleyball scholarship possibly out of state or even in state JC she will no longer be eligible for the academic full tuition scholarship at the in state University.
I feel like we are gambling if we don’t accept the academic money, but I don’t want to hold her back from a great sports college experience. So I am writing to you to see how much of a gamble volleyball is. How often are athletic scholarships taken away? Is it normal that if you are not the #1 player for your position you will not keep your scholarship? If coaches always want to make their teams better, is the existing team always in fear of being replaced by upcoming players?
Your advice is very much appreciated.
I appreciate the compliments on the site and Inside College Volleyball!
Your email/question has a very real world application for parents of smart and talented Volleyball players.
In general, a college coach will remove/reduce your scholarship if:
1. You were arrested - Rarely happens in Volleyball.
2. You became academically ineligible - Happens more than being arrested, but still not common.
3. Your attitude and/or work ethic becomes a problem - This happens more often than one would think. I have seen it as a coach and many of my coaching friends have also dealt with it; some players get to college and think they can now just go through the motions while having a really selfish, entitled attitude.
4. The college coach over rated your talent and/or potential - This is probably the most common. College coaches are always best guessing a recruit's ability. In the past when a coach over rated a player, the would just rely on those athletes as 'practice players'. Now, cutting the player who they feel has no chance to get on the court is all too routine.
You know your daughter well enough to determine if #1 through #3 would ever happen.
The challenge is #4. It is hard to look into the inner workings of a college volleyball program and many folks will try to review the web archive of a team's roster to see if there has been continuity through the classes (making sure players are actually on the rosters as Seniors, when they arrived as Freshmen).
It is important for families to choose the 'correct' level of ability when choosing a college volleyball team. For instance, if a 5'11" OH is getting a Division I scholarship from a Top 10 team, then the family must realistically know their daughter is a stud. Not just good, but very good. While VolleyParents might be excited that their baby girl is going to Super Duper College, they may need to take a hard look at reality. Does their daughter actually have the ability to play at SDC or is this a late roster fill, or has there been coaching change?
One item that caught my attention in your email, was "Her school and local club teams are not a draw for college coaches". The majority of clubs and high schools are never a draw for college coaches. Very few athletes, when compared to the totality of those playing volleyball, have the opportunity to play for an elite club or state contending high school. This is why marketing and promoting yourself with the use of the internet and video is critical to garnering the luxury of choice. College coaches rarely walk into a gym and just watch - they go to tournaments with a specific list of players they need to evaluate. The majority of the time, these players have emailed the coach with a video so they can get on that 'to see' list.
Don't wait for someone to find your daughter, your daughter needs to be helping hundreds of programs find her!
As to your specific questions:
What are the odds of a program accepting you and giving you a scholarship then taking it away they next year and giving it to a superstar? If numbers 1 through 4 don't apply, then very thin. A NCAA Division I program has 12 scholarship to award, so averages 3 scholarships per year.
How often are athletic scholarships taken away? More often than families would think, but again, it is related to the numbers above.
Is it normal that if you are not the #1 player for your position you will not keep your scholarship? Yes, you don't have to be a starter to retain your scholarship. The key is to work hard, have a good attitude and be ready to contribute in whatever role the coach asks.
If coaches always want to make their teams better, is the existing team always in fear of being replaced by upcoming players? College coaches are always trying to find better players than they currently have on their roster, that is how they improve their records over time. A player losing their starting spot is much different than a player losing their scholarship, because of an incoming athlete.
Please note, that I am tending to focus on NCAA Division I athletic scholarships, of which there are only 12 for Women's Volleyball and each of those 12 players are on a Full scholarship.
When you move outside of DI, the scholarships tend to be 'packages' where the athletic part may not be the largest (academic, athletic, merit and need based scholarship are available). My experience is that the pressure or instinct to cut a 'practice player' or an athlete who had a down year, is not as pronounced as with DI. With DII/DIII, NAIA and JC's, the biggest factor in an athletic having their scholarship removed is attitude and work ethic.
While you did not list your daughter's year in High school, I would guess she is a Senior because of the academic scholarship offer? My suggestion is to find out exactly how late she could wait to commit to the academic scholarship, and then proceed to reach out aggressively with emails/videos to those college volleyball programs which are the best fit.
You will not know exactly what her playing level is until she gets recruited, or not recruited, by a larger grouping of college volleyball programs.