Sunday, June 28, 2009
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Sunday, June 21, 2009
Sand Volleyball as an Emerging Sport
An Answer to the Override Request
There are several ways in which Sand Volleyball is unlike any other sport that has been put on the Emerging Sports List for Women. The first is simply the popularity of the sport. No other emerging sport has had the amount of television exposure, professional opportunities or marketplace presence. The second is the either real or perceived impact that popularity will have on Indoor Volleyball, a sport currently sponsored by 96% of NCAA Division I institutions.
The override request that is being circulated by the Big 12 makes several references to the popularity of Sand Volleyball among both current and prospective student-athletes. That document cites that popularity as the reason to support overriding the decision to add the sport to the Emerging Sports List. We respectfully argue that this popularity is the very reason to find legislative solutions to enable those institutions desiring to add Sand Volleyball to be able to do so, without giving them a competitive advantage in the recruitment of indoor volleyball players.
Clearly, institutions that are at proportionality do not want to be “pressured” into adding more women’s sports than they “need for equity purposes.” These schools will have little reason to add Sand Volleyball or any other emerging sport for that matter. For this reason caveats were put into the legislative recommendations that will prevent their peers from stockpiling indoor talent under the guise of sponsoring a sand team. If that protection does not go far enough, then let’s strengthen it rather than block participation opportunities at other schools.
For many institutions, Sand Volleyball provides an affordable new sport. The Financial Aid Cabinets’ recommendation of six equivalency scholarships and the caveat that aid recipients in Sand Volleyball become counters if they play on the indoor team, allow for the addition of up to fourteen aided roster spots.
The override proposal states that only schools with large budgets or west coast locations will be able to afford this sport. Clearly this was not the consensus in April. Of the twenty-three (23) conferences that voted to support Sand Volleyball’s addition to the list, twenty (20) are mid-majors and only three (3) are located on the west coast. Rather than making the rich richer, Sand Volleyball is more likely to give opportunities for national competitiveness to institutions that would never attain notoriety in the indoor game.
Certainly there are unknowns as to the impact of Sand Volleyball, an emerging sport, on Indoor Volleyball, an established sport. Recognizing this, the Committee on Women’s Athletics wisely set an implementation date of August of 2010 so institutions could deliberate as to the best way to contend with and mitigate these impacts. Further, when CWA made their recommendation in the summer of 2008, few in intercollegiate athletics anticipated the severity of the economic downturn and the subsequent effect on departmental finances. If more time is needed, then let us seek that time rather than impulsively attempt to eliminate an opportunity for women which has both merit and marketability.
Following are some of the reasons, in numbers, that Sand Volleyball was put on the Emerging Sports List for Women in July of 2008:
1. According to a Sporting Good Manufacturers Association report published in 2007, 218,184 females under the age of 18 play sand volleyball. 63% do not play indoor volleyball. Of that Sand-only group, 32,654 identify themselves as frequent participants. This is higher that the high school playing population of Equestrian (1,341), Crew (2,685), Ice Hockey (7,350), Badminton (10,888), Water Polo (17,791), and Bowling (20,931). All of these sports except Badminton are either currently on the Emerging Sports List or have since graduated to full fledged NCAA-sponsored championships.
2. If just 10% of institutions that currently sponsor an indoor team add a sand volleyball team, and each adds only 5 new participants, Sand Volleyball will eclipse 8 women’s sports currently tracked by the NCAA. If 30% add 5 new sand volleyball student-athletes, the sport will move into the top 50% in participation opportunities among all NCAA sports for women. These numbers do not include the addition of sand programs at schools that currently do not sponsor an indoor team or the double counting of cross-over student-athletes.
3. There have been professional opportunities for women in beach volleyball in the United States for over twenty years, more than any other women’s sports except golf and tennis. In a February 2009 Turnkey Sports poll reported in Sports Business Journal, women’s professional volleyball was listed as having “the biggest growth potential in the next five years” of any women’s sport including golf and tennis.
4. Beach Volleyball has been an Olympic Sport since 1996. Since introduction in Atlanta, the sport has increased in popularity with each Olympic cycle. In the 2008 Beijing Games, beach volleyball was the fourth most popular spectator sport and garnered the second highest television rating of any Olympic sport worldwide.
Thank you for supporting the addition of Sand Volleyball to the Emerging Sports List for women. Please work with us to find the right legislative mix that will allow this sport to flourish while protecting the competitive equity of the indoor game.
Proposals for the management of Sand Volleyball are currently coming out of the various cabinets. Institutions and conferences have until July 15 to add amendments and/or variations for consideration in the 2009 legislative cycle. Bailing out on a popular women’s sport is not the answer. Please contact the American Volleyball Coaches Association with your suggestions, concerns and feedback.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
- Boise State is using some creative methods close a $750,000 budget gap. In addition to laying off three staff members, the football program has also eliminated two interns, land line phones have been eliminated for the gymnastics program, and printed media guides have been eliminated with some exceptions for football and basketball, saving $25,000.
- Idaho has reduced their support staff by leaving open vacant positions. Also, all one way travel less than 400 miles will be via bus.
- Idaho State is eliminating media guides, reduced a basketball coaching position to graduate assistant status and is eliminating printed media guides.
- Nevada may face the loss of $1 million on its $18.7 million budget.
San Jose State has moved a scheduled contest with Stanford to 2014 and will replace them on the schedule with a road game at Alabama that will pay $1 million, nearly five times more than the guarantee Stanford was paying.
Iowa State is facing a $500,000 budget cut. Some savings have already been identified by eliminating a trip for the men's basketball team to Germany ($150,000), eliminating a chartered flight to Missouri for football ($50,000) and eliminating the football media guide ($100,000).
Florida State athletic director Randy Spetman is "pleading" with fans to support the football team with season ticket sales down nearly 12% and the team only hosting 6 home games in 2009. The current pace of sales would mean $1.5 million in lost revenue.
Southern University has agreed to move their home football game against Jackson State to Jackson, Mississippi because of the ability to sell up to an additional 32,000 tickets. "You can't measure (home field advantage)...But you can measure cheeks in seats" said athletic director Greg LaFleur about the decision to move the game out of his own facility.
Kentucky's Athletic Association is giving $500,000 to the University's general fund for scholarship support.
In Division I hockey, http://www.ultimatesportsinsider.com/ has heard that both Hockey East and the WCHA are eliminating printed media guides.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Saturday, June 13, 2009
But the familiarity so many have grown accustomed to is going to disappear. The 2011 College World Series will be held in a new $130 million stadium in downtown Omaha, Nebraska. If this were the 1960's they might name it Fahey Field (after current Omaha Mayor Mike Fahey who pushed the construction of the new stadium) or even more appropriately Poppe Park after Dennis Poppe, a more than 30 year veteran of the NCAA, who has helped build the College World Series into an amazing event. Instead the games will be played at TD Ameritrade Park.
Progress can be a strange thing. This is the first time in five years I won't be in Omaha as my tenure on the NCAA Baseball committee has ended. But I continue to tell anyone and everyone who will listen that if they like college baseball or want to see one of the great sporting events in their lifetime, they must go to the College World Series. It is an event beyond compare. Remarkably consistent homespun excellence is its hallmark, in part because of the amazingly friendly, supportive and hospitable people of Omaha, in particular Jack Diesing Jr. (perhaps the park should have been Diesing Diamond), Kathryn Morrissey, Herb Hames and a host of others.
The College World Series is evolving and changing quickly. Just two years ago there was all kinds of controversy about blogging during College World Series games. Today such a discussion would seem almost silly. Even NCAA Baseball Committee Member and Louisiana-Monroe Athletic Director Bobby Staub is getting in on the blogging by Twittering from the games.
That pace of change will quicken for the College World Series. I'm sure the new stadium in Omaha will be beautiful - clean, shiny, and spacious. I'm looking forward to seeing it. But to really appreciate the new, you have to experience Rosenblatt Stadium - quirky tri-colored red, yellow and blue seating - hearing a vintage 1935 Hammond Organ - fans cheering the ballgirls when they catch a foul ball rolling off the screen behind home plate - amazing sunsets - Zestos milkshakes.
The baseball will remain high quality in TDA Park. And while the whole experience is ultimately about determining the NCAA Baseball champion, Rosenblatt Stadium is a shrine set on a hill. And its time is running out.
At most there are only 22 days and 34 games of college baseball left in Rosenblatt Stadium's history. Make the trip to Rosenblatt this year if you can. If you can't go this year, mark your calendar for June 19-30, 2010 and go next year. You won't regret it. Fifty years from now, will fans think of TDA Park the way many consider Rosenblatt Stadium today? That answer is TBD. But you can't force history or manufacture nostalgia. Progress can be a funny thing. Take advantage of the present while you can.
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Sunday, June 7, 2009
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Monday, June 1, 2009
Roosevelt University in Chicago is adding an entire intercollegiate athletic program, two decades after a decision was made to close the department. They intend to start 12 teams over the next five years.
The New York Times wrote a summary article about students that have rejected fee increases to support athletics (all of which were previously covered by ultimatesportsinsider.com) . They also have an article about the large number of graduates from sports management programs and the absence of jobs when they finish their degrees.