January 12, 2017

College Volleyball Recruiting for Academically Elite players

First, just a personal question. I played basketball for Spring High School from 1984 to 1987. Did you play at Klein Oak?

My oldest daughter is a freshman middle blocker, about 6'1", started for her varsity high school team this last season (as a right side), which was one of the top 10 teams in the state. In club, she plays for an open team - her group finished 5th at AAU in 13 Open 2 years ago, 15th last year. They are probably a top 40 team Nationally, and she's a big part of that. So, extrapolating, she'll have the chance to play college volleyball, if she wants to. My wife played for Cathy George at Texas Arlington, I ended up playing basketball at Vanderbilt, so we are familiar with the world of college athletics, at least how it looked in the 1990's. We bought your book (Kindle version) and are using it to bridge the gap between our experiences and the way the world looks today, or at least how it looked in 2012. We understand and embrace the concept of Freshman Free, Sophomore Slow. 

On the other hand, my daughter is also gifted academically. She got a 28 on the ACT as an 8th grader, and a 1360 on the PSAT as a Freshman. She is enrolled in the International Baccalaureate program at her school, and wants to major in digital animation / character design in college. She already has identified about 30 schools that are strong in this field, and, to sum it up, she may not need volleyball to get where she is going.

Without talking to any program specifically, I understand this makes her a very good Division 2 candidate, since they bundle academic and athletic aid. But what about D1? What if, for example, she is a National Merit Scholar, and / or gets other aid based on test scores and academic credentials, AND lands a D1 scholarship? Does that academic money go back to the pool from whence it came, or is that money in her pocket? 

I will have other questions for you as we mature in the process, including "Where are all the middles going?", but one step at a time.

Enjoy your time in Columbus, and safe travels home.


Thank you for your email and my apologies for the late reply - Yes, I did play hoops at Klein Oak in 84 and 85; time sure does fly!!! 

With the collegiate athlete experience of you and your wife, your daughter will be in a lucky position of having college sports educated parents overseeing the new craziness of college volleyball recruiting.  Thanks for getting Inside College Volleyball and I hope it does help bridge the gap in college careers!

Specific to your question about academic scholarships - A player cannot 'stack' a full athletic scholarship with any academic money within Division I sports.  The Prospective Student Athletes (PSA) who can reach that elite level of academic status, they can garner an academic award equal to (or better) than a full athletic scholarship.  This opportunity is per Division I school - Some schools call it a Presidential Scholarship or Regents Scholarship, but not all school's highest academic award will equal a full athletic scholarship.

But, if your daughter can achieve this type of non-athletic scholarship, it provides a wonderful safety net because the coach or athletic department has no control over the scholarship. Also, talented athletes who can achieve a significant non-athletic scholarship are very attractive recruits; the coach can bring in a very good player and not have to use a volleyball scholarship.

As you referenced, in the DII world, a strong academic athlete is in a great position to package a very large scholarship award (from all the avenues of money; academic, athletic, merit and need based).

But, back to the DI scenario, keep that information about being all world academically in your back pocket early in the recruiting process.  Go through the process, evaluating opportunities knowing you have a great safety net!

Columbus for the NCAA DI National Championship was stupid cold, then icy and then back to stupid cold!


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