Vital modifications will hit the panorama of school seaside volleyball in 2025, at the same time as one telling query stays unanswered for the upcoming season.
The breakup of the Pac-12 Convention, dwelling to a number of of the faculty recreation’s most profitable applications, was a catalyst for the Mountain Pacific Sports activities Federation so as to add seaside volleyball to the sports activities it sanctions for the 2024-25 college yr.
The addition to the Huge 12 of three colleges with beach-volleyball groups prompted that well-established league so as to add the game for 2024-25. The information from each conferences broke final week and can take impact for the 2025 sand season.
The MPSF lengthy has sponsored males’s indoor volleyball in its catch-all menu that features swimming and diving, water polo and gymnastics. Its startup ladies’s seaside lineup will embrace six groups displaced from the Pac-12 — USC, UCLA, Oregon, Washington, California and Stanford — together with Grand Canyon, which is able to transfer from the CCSA.
In most different sports activities, USC, UCLA, Oregon and Washington will belong to the Huge Ten, Cal and Stanford to the Atlantic Coast Convention, and Grand Canyon to the Western Athletic Convention. UCLA, USC, Stanford and Grand Canyon are MPSF members in males’s indoor volleyball.
Some powerhouse sand applications will discover a new dwelling there, notably USC and UCLA, the one groups to win NCAA titles since seaside volleyball obtained full sanction in 2016. Grand Canyon, Stanford and Cal earned bids to the 17-team subject for the 2022 NCAA Championship, by which USC defeated UCLA within the ultimate to three-peat as nationwide champs.
“Amidst a lot change on the earth of collegiate athletics, it’s nice to see the steps which can be being taken in an effort to promote the expansion and visibility of seaside volleyball,” USC coach Dain Blanton mentioned in a launch from the MPSF. “USC becoming a member of the Huge Ten Convention was actually an enormous step in the best route, and we’re excited to have the ability to keep a excessive stage of competitors among the many groups that we are going to be part of the MPSF with.
“The MPSF has been a implausible accomplice all through this course of and has lengthy served as a powerful West Coast presence for therefore many sports activities, together with males’s volleyball after I was a student-athlete (at Pepperdine).”
A numbers conundrum
The Huge 12 may have 4 groups: TCU, Arizona State, Arizona and Utah. The latter three joined the convention within the wake of the Pac-12’s collapse and the highly effective Horned Frogs, a Huge 12 member in different sports activities, will transfer over after a one-year keep in Convention USA. Ranked No. 1 within the AVCA ballot for a lot of the 2022 season, TCU was an NCAA semifinalist, eradicated 3-2 by the champion Trojans.
The NCAA requires six members for a convention to achieve an computerized bid to the nationwide championship. In its launch, the Huge 12 famous, “Participation numbers will probably be dropped at ranges that permit the Convention to qualify for nationwide championship tournaments.”
That may imply extra current Huge 12 members may add seaside volleyball or the league may decide up affiliate members. Seemingly omitted within the chilly below this alignment are Florida State, LSU, South Carolina and Texas, which demonstrated its intentions of turning into a considerable presence on the sand by hiring Stein Metzger, previously of UCLA, as coach. FSU was a semifinalist and LSU a quarterfinalist within the 2022 NCAAs.
The mass exodus from the Pac-12 is not going to happen till August, that means the scenario for the upcoming 2024 season is unchanged. The remaining sticky wicket is what’s occurring with the CCSA, which is right down to 4 groups and thus wouldn’t be eligible for an computerized NCAA bid.
In a wide-ranging interview with Volleyball Journal on Friday, LSU Coach Russell Brock supplied some readability on the CCSA’s standing. Brock’s Sandy Tigers have been a perennial nationwide energy, incomes bids to the NCAA tourney in every of his seven seasons on the helm, and he was VolleyballMag.com’s 2018 Nationwide Coach of the Yr. Russell’s merchandise embrace Taryn Kloth and Kristen Nuss, on a path to signify the USA within the 2024 Paris Video games, presently No. 2 on the earth within the Olympic seaside rankings.
“Our efforts are attempting to keep up our convention. We’ve 4 groups, all high-quality applications (FSU, LSU, Grand Canyon and South Carolina), and on our finish of issues, we have now petitioned the NCAA to permit us to retain our computerized qualifier,” Brock advised us. “That request will not be essentially unroutine, so we anticipate that can purchase us a yr. Significantly in a yr when there’s a lot occurring. It will give us a while to form of get our ft on the bottom and actually have a greater plan transferring ahead.
“It’s not as if that computerized qualifier (from the CCSA) would go to a crew that shouldn’t be there. It’s in all probability going to be a crew that wouldn’t want the automated qualifier anyway to make the sector. That’s the great thing about (these applications) being pretty much as good as they will probably be, in that the automated qualifier is a pleasant backup plan. (LSU) has been within the NCAAs yearly since 2017 and we by no means have been an computerized qualifier, but we’ve completed within the high 5 within the nation again and again.”
CCSA: Will it keep or will it go?
The Coastal Collegiate Sports activities Affiliation is one other catch-all entity that additionally sanctions males’s and ladies’s swimming and diving, primarily for Jap colleges. It stepped into the breach throughout seaside volleyball’s extra early life.
“Two or three years in the past, we had 20 groups in our convention, however different conferences began choosing them off when (the panorama) began altering,” Brock mentioned. “Now subsequent yr will probably be no totally different, one other huge change. The Pac-12 dissolved, these groups need to go locations and so they have began to seek out some properties.”
Brock famous Grand Canyon’s exit from the league to the Huge 12, however added that Texas, which will probably be a brand new member of the SEC, plans to affix the CCSA in 2025. The Longhorns will stay as an impartial in 2024.
“Our entire thought course of is to maintain our SEC colleges — LSU, South Carolina and Texas — collectively. Our applications’ dedication is that we’re going to keep collectively wherever we find yourself. If that finally ends up being the CCSA, Florida State would nonetheless be there, so the hassle could be to fill in one other couple gaps. But when we do one thing else, which is on the desk so far as us exploring alternatives, then we’ll try this collectively.
“The grasp plan, the final word aim, could be to have a couple of extra SEC colleges launch their applications after which play for the perfect championship you could possibly play for in seaside volleyball, an SEC championship. Maybe the addition of Texas will affect another SEC colleges to be dedicated to beginning, then we will get a real SEC going. However there is no such thing as a timeline on that.”
Within the shorter time period, nonetheless, the choice that maybe offers the road of least resistance could be to fold the three SEC groups, plus FSU, into the Huge 12. That may create a extremely aggressive eight-team league. South Florida, which competes within the American Athletic Convention in different sports activities, will add seaside volleyball in 2025 and is perhaps an addition to the Huge 12. SEC member Florida has been rumored as probably hopping on the seaside bandwagon and the Gators would venture as quick nationwide energy.
“The Huge 12 possibility positively is one being thought-about,” Brock mentioned. “The Huge 12 is a longtime convention and so they know run a league. They’ve bylaws and procedures that we must speak by means of. However these are issues for directors, and we for certain are within the midst of these conversations to see what’s going to be finest.
“How can we transfer ahead whereas defending our little group, and nonetheless look at alternatives to shift gears and do one thing a bit bit totally different? We wish to compete on the highest stage in opposition to the very best groups that we probably can, and it’s an enormous plus to have that convention affiliation and the automated qualifier.”
Flipping again to the 2024 season, Brock emphasised that the CCSA doubtless would soldier on with 4 members even when the NCAA doesn’t grant its waiver for its champion to obtain an computerized bid to the NCAAs.
“It’s a matter of getting that convention affiliation, and having the perks reminiscent of all-conference groups, the power to create some worth exterior of truly enjoying for the championship even,” he mentioned. “These facets as a collegiate student-athlete are priceless, they’re enjoyable and so they’re price preventing for.”
That features enjoying a convention event even when just for an added week of competitors vs. apply time main into the NCAAs, and the honour of being referred to as CCSA champion.
“From my standpoint, a convention event could be nicely price it,” Brock mentioned. “For us to have the ability to play Florida State, South Carolina and Grand Canyon, even when it’s simply us 4, we will set it up with a pool main into a bit bracket, it makes a ton of sense. Any high quality competitors you get down the stretch is a large profit, an amazing coaching alternative, with the added bonus that we’re enjoying for a convention championship.”