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On the men’s side of the spectrum, NCAA Division I football has 85 scholarships. Basketball has 13 scholarships. Lacrosse 12.6. Track and Field 12.6. Wrestling 9.9. Volleyball… 4.5. Why so little?

 

What’s been happening to smaller men’s sports looks all too familiar. But no one wants opportunities taken away from young athletes. In the volleyball community especially, proponents want to see the sport flourish for both men and women. How can this be done?

 

For women, the addition of sand volleyball as a collegiate sport has already shown so much promise and growth. As for men’s volleyball, the scholarship number remains the same. No sign of sand volleyball for men in the near future. But I think it’s safe to say that if men’s volleyball had more scholarships, that would encourage more boys to play volleyball at the junior level. Thus, growth of the sport.

 

Kathy DeBoer (American Volleyball Coaches Association Executive Director) mentioned that, “When you look at the number of boys playing a sport and compare it to the number of scholarships available at the college level, men’s volleyball is the second most difficult sport for boys to earn a scholarship based on that ratio.” I think we can agree that needs to change.

 

The lack of scholarships for men’s volleyball hurts the participation. More money for those programs might not be in the near future, and arguing about modifying or repealing Title IX is just going to have us running in circles. It’s time to start talking about how we can grow the men’s game in other ways. Outreach? More youth programs available? Highlight current successful programs and players? Educate on the opportunities abroad/professionally after college? There are various ways that this sport can continue to grow.

 

One major change the NCAA made this year for the 2014 National Collegiate Men’s Volleyball Championship is having 6 teams, instead of 4, make it to the final rounds. The top two seeds have been placed in the bracket, and the remaining four teams will compete for the last two spots. These play-in matches will take place tonight, April 29th, and the semifinals and finals will take place May 1st and 3rd. All matches will be played in Chicago, at the Gentile Arena.

 

No. 3 Stanford will play No. 6 Erskine, with the winner advancing to the semifinals to play No. 2 BYU. No 4 Lewis will play No. 5 Penn State, with the winner set to play No. 1 Loyola Chicago.

 

This new 6 team, final round playoffs could be the start of something big for the future of collegiate men’s volleyball.

 

(Photo Cred: NeonTommy.com)

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