For many years now, volleyball has enjoyed worldwide popularity. With about 800 million people taking part in the sport, it is second only to soccer in terms of global participants. . Almost 50 million are from the US, representing over 15% of the total US population. College volleyball has been for many years the most common path that young male and female athletes have chosen to combine volleyball and education. On the women’s side in particular, there are scholarship opportunities available for talented players and full scholarships are fairly common for high caliber players.
Over the last few years, beach volleyball has also seen its popularity rise and more and more universities have added beach volleyball teams. There are now 72 universities with a women’s beach volleyball team, making it the fastest growing NCAA sport. This number is expected to increase substantially over the next few years, opening even more doors for foreign volleyball and beach volleyball players.
Advantages of playing College Volleyball
Combining volleyball and a world-class education is something that is very difficult to do anywhere outside of the US. Furthermore, the level of competition elsewhere, and the quality of the coaching and facilities frequently fall short of the standards student athletes find in the US. Thankfully, the demand for talented international players is very high as coaches constantly recruit players from around the globe. This, coupled with the fact that most university volleyball teams in the US draw fairly big crowds to their home games, makes the American college volleyball system fundamentally superior to any that the rest of the world can offer..
The two major Volleyball Associations operate in different ways. In NCAA D1 Women’s Volleyball, the sport is a “head count sport“, meaning that the 12 available scholarships per team cannot be split up between more than 12 players. The system in NCAA Division 2 or in the NAIA, however, is different, since coaches there may award full scholarships or as many partial scholarships as they want, as long as they do not exceed the total number of scholarships allowed.
Here are some more important facts about college volleyball and volleyball scholarships:
- Number of NCAA Div 1 volleyball teams: Men 22, Women 334
- Number of NCAA Div 2 volleyball teams: Men 21, Women 302
- Total Number of volleyball teams (all divisions): Men 160, Women 1785
- Total number of college volleyball players: Men c. 2500, Women c. 27000
- Scholarship limit per team: D1 Men: 4.5, D1 Women: 12, D2 Men: 4.5, D2 Women: 8, NAIA Men&Women: 8
- Former college volleyball players: Kerri Walsh, Misty May-Treanor, April Ross, Rachael Adams, Karch Kiraly, Ryan Ammerman, Matt Anderson