If you’re a volleyball athlete, club recruiting coordinator,  or coach you’ve undoubtedly dealt with many changes in the past few months regarding the coronavirus and how it has affected the volleyball recruiting process. It’s an uncertain time and many are looking for answers that are hard to come by right now. Here is some helpful information on recent developments.

What is happening?

Several different recruiting rule changes are occurring, and more may come. The NCAA has extended the recruiting dead period for all D1 sports through August 31st. Coaches are not allowed to meet face-to-face with a recruit off-campus or do any in-person evaluations/recruiting. The NCAA has also encouraged all college programs to stop all official and unofficial visits. Even though this dead period may still get extended, recruiting has not stopped; coaches and recruits can still communicate over email, phone, text and social media.

Scholarship updates

Effective Aug. 1, 2020, NCAA Division 1 equivalency sports (D1 men’s volleyball; not D1 women’s volleyball) will not have any athletes’ need- and academic-based aid count against a team’s maximum athletic scholarship limit. Prior to this rule change, athletes had to meet certain academic criteria for their additional aid to not be counted against the athletic scholarship limit. Men’s volleyball athletes can now stack as much need-based aid and academic scholarships onto an athletic scholarship as they can secure. This makes academics more important than ever to give recruits an edge in securing scholarship money and should allow programs with available funds to extend more money to athletes.

NCAA Eligibility Center updates

With so many questions about the upcoming school year, the NCAA provided some clarification for student-athletes looking to complete their requirements for NCAA eligibility. The first is that the Eligibility Center will not require a separate review of distance, e-learning or hybrid programs for the 2020–21 academic year, loosening requirements for students learning outside of the classroom. The NCAA also provided additional guidance for home-schooled students.

What athletes should be doing now

More than ever, athletes should be staying proactive in the college recruiting process. While they may not be able to compete right now, they can still move their recruiting and training forward. It’s important to stay sharp, keep improving grades and even keep a recruiting journal to track progress.

Digital communication is one of the few ways that college coaches can still actively recruit student-athletes. College coaches and recruits are now even more heavily relying on email to stay in touch with one another.

Video is more important than ever

College coaches can’t travel to events right now, but they can look at athletes’ highlight video from home. Athletes should be uploading video with recent clips and new skills right now. Make sure these focus on athletes’ best attributes and not on what they’re trying to improve. Warmups and music can be left out of the highlight video.

Keeping up with news

It can be difficult to keep up with all the changes and news regarding college volleyball right now. Fortunately, athletes and parents can reference the NCSA Coronavirus Sports and Volleyball Coronavirus Information pages to keep up with new developments.

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About the Author

Sue Webber is a former college volleyball player for the University of Illinois, former collegiate coach at the NAIA and Division I levels and currently the Event Partnership Director at Next College Student Athlete (NCSA), the Official Recruiting Services provider of the JVA. NCSA assists JVA club directors and coaches with guiding their athletes through the college recruiting process.