Momentum seems to be growing for recruiting reform in the next handful of months in the college volleyball world that would be aimed at slowing down the recruiting process. Anyone who follows volleyball knows that the recruiting and commitment process…
Momentum seems to be growing for recruiting reform in the next handful of months in the college volleyball world that would be aimed at slowing down the recruiting process.
Anyone who follows volleyball knows that the recruiting and commitment process is seemingly starting earlier every year. In recent weeks, Mckenna Wucherer of Milwaukee Sting became the first current 8th grader to commit, pledging to Minnesota.
One of the big changes being proposed has to do with when prospective student athletes can take recruiting trips to college campuses. Right now, athletes can take an unofficial visit to a college any time. An unofficial visit is one in which the family pays for all expenses.
Right now, athletes must wait until they are a senior to take an official visit. An official visit is one in which the host college can pay expenses related to having the athlete on campus.
There are no limits to the number of unofficial visits an athlete can take nor are there limitations as to the number of unofficial visits a school can host. As for official visits, an athlete can only take five of them in their high school career.
The proposed changes – which seem to have a vast amount of support – would prevent athletes from taking unofficial visits until their junior year of high school. Attending camps/clinics at a college do not count as an unofficial visit. The proposed changes would also allow athletes to begin taking official visits as juniors – a year earlier than currently allowed.
The hope here is that by not allowing unofficial visits until an athlete’s junior year it would put the brakes on athletes committing to a school without ever really being able to spend time on campus. And, by allowing athletes to take official visits as juniors, it would encourage the athlete to wait until then to get the free trip to campus.
Allowing juniors to take official visits is also likely to help colleges and athletes navigate the recruiting process with a little bit more clarity about where they stand with each other. If an athlete can only take five official visits, a college is going to know pretty quick where it ranks in the mind of the athlete if the athlete is non-committal on scheduling an official visit. Conversely, athletes can find out pretty quick where they rank with a school if the school is non-committal about paying for an official visit.
Frankly, it has never really made sense that an athlete couldn’t take an official visit until their senior year, when 95% of the Division I programs have already finished their recruiting classes anyways. Official visits basically where just a way to get all the committed players together on campus for some team bonding.
Will these changes – if implemented – cause a radical change in how young volleyball players are committing these days? Probably not radically, but there will be a noticeable difference.
What these changes would do is put a much, much greater significance on getting prospective players onto campus via individual and team camps. And, suddenly, the pressure for athletes to get to these camps and for college coaches to make a big splash at the camps and get as many verbal commits as they can during camps.
We will just have to wait and see how these changes impact the early recruiting of volleyball players. Ultimately, though, this is a great step forward in my opinion for both the schools and athletes.