We are just a few short months away from the beginning of the 2017 Collegiate Volleyball season. Each high school recruiting class is going through it’s range of emotions, concerns and stressors, especially the uncommitted athletes.
I am sure those of you in the Class of 2017 Uncommitted athletes that want to play collegiate volleyball and haven’t found a home yet, are in hyperventilation mode at this point and have all but given up. Now, those of you that are Class of 2018’s are not far behind and have themselves nearly convinced that since you are now moving into your senior year that all the good spots are gone. On to the Class of 2019’s and you have somehow made the decision to jump on the bandwagon of ‘oh my goodness’ should I be losing sleep at night if I haven’t made my first phone call to a college coach yet? Do I dare even address those in the Class of 2020, that are in the self-induced mindset of I have to call every college coach in the country…because they have to know about me!
For the purpose of calming all of your fears, to induce hope and clarify the reality of the recruiting landscape, I am going to address each graduating year.
Dear Class of 2017 Uncommitted Prospective Student Athlete,
While I will not attempt to lead you astray with false hopes, what I will do is provide you with some solid options if your dream is to play collegiate volleyball. I am going to list a few practical options that are still available.
– Consider a walk-on position (this would mean there would not be an option of athletic money) and of course the prospective school would need a player in your position. Making the choice to be a walk-on also means that you must be able to be an athletic fit for the program you are targeting. In addition, there are admission deadlines and those have to be taken into consideration. But the truth is that it may not be too late. There are many colleges that continue to accept student applications well past posted deadlines and throughout the summer. There are a good majority of schools that have Rolling Admissions, which means that they continue to accept students until the class is filled.
– Junior Colleges can offer solid academic and athletic programs that can prepare you to play at the next level after a year or two depending on your long term goals. Visit the NJCCA eligibility center at http://njcaa.org/eligibility/faq and learn about the plethora of options available to you!
– NAIA schools are still on the hunt for 2017’s! NAIA schools offer phenomenal academics and highly competitive athletic programs as well as a combination of athletic and academic dollars. Yes, they are typically smaller schools but do not let that fool you…their resources, campuses and academic offerings can rival schools that are 5x their size.
Dear Class of 2018 Uncommitted Prospective Student Athlete,
First, let me start off by saying ‘IT’S NOT TOO LATE AND ALL THE OPPORTUNITIES’ are not gone! As a matter of fact, there are dozens of opportunities for 2018’s across all division levels RIGHT NOW! I do acknowledge that there is a level of stress when you are heading into your senior year, determined to be a collegiate athlete and not knowing what the future holds for you. But I caution you to PERSEVERE because you will become extremely focused on what your long term goals are (both academically and athletically) and the opportunities will increase after the end of the 2017 collegiate season. YES, new opportunities will arise and if you are uncommitted, you will be pleasantly surprised of the choices in front of you. Repeat after me….patience, persistence and focus!
Dear Class of 2019 Uncommitted Prospective Student Athlete,
It is more common than you think…many of you have NOT made your first call to a college coach. I am here to let you know that is more the norm for your graduating class! So, take a deep breath and relax! Yes, I also acknowledge that some of your teammates may already have made a verbal commitment and some make phone calls and take unofficial visits. But, that might not be where you are at and that is OKAY!
I caution you to stay focused on your journey, your athletic development and continue to put the priority of ACADEMICS above all! Your academic success or failure can determine your choice of school and as you head into your junior year (typically the hardest), the effort and time you take to make your academics a priority will pay off. It is your responsibility as a PSA to know the eligibility requirements and also to research your target schools academic requirements. This upcoming school year is also when you are focused on your SAT’s & ACT’s. Be prepared! Your academic ability is just as important as your athletic ability! I have listed the links below for both the NCAA & NAIA Eligibility Centers. Do the research!
Dear Class of 2020 Uncommitted Prospective Student Athlete,
The obvious place to begin is….there is SO MUCH TIME ahead of you! You have just completed your Freshman year…adjusting to big girl volleyball in both high school and club and have gotten a taste of what it means to balance high school life, the rigors of club practice and the requirements of higher level academics.
From an athletic standpoint you have just begun your journey and there will be many changes ahead for you in terms of growth, both mentally and physically. You are all extremely excited that college coaches want to know about you and occasionally (if you are honest with yourself) that takes over as a priority and focus. Yes, it is exciting and fun and that is exactly what it should be at this point in your journey! You do not need to send out dozens of emails per week to colleges that you have no idea are even interested in you. As well, so many changes ahead of you that will determine what schools you target from both a physical and academic standpoint.
If you read the above messages to the Classes of 2017-2019, the common thread is, there are always OPPORTUNITIES. YOUR PRIORITIES change and YOUR ACADEMIC FOCUS is key!
This is a great time in your young life…enjoy and don’t worry…there will be many future opportunities for college coaches to get to know you. To reiterate, There IS SO MUCH TIME ahead of you!
To all of the young athletes heading to National Championships over the next few days and weeks…savor every moment with your team! Be the kind of teammate that everyone wants to be around…play with abandon and remember why you chose this sport! Play for the love of the game and for the younger athletes who stand on the side lines and watch you in awe! Respect the officials, your coaches and the ethics of sportsmanship!
ALWAYS be genuine and passionate in your pursuit of all of the above and you will be noticed!
About the Author
Patty Costlow is the Recruiting Coordinator for Munciana Volleyball, a long time JVA member club located in Muncie, Indiana.