The NCAA has targeted women’s volleyball as a sport that should have increased marketing and brand appeal. Our board applauds that idea, but we strongly believe that collegiate volleyball name recognition can only grow through the development of a successful moniker for the NCAA Championships.
Nearly three years ago this magazine proposed the name “VolleyFour” and provided logos that could work for the championships. The name was widely approved by coaches, players, media and some AVCA board members. However, the NCAA does not believe a name will help the championships, which is flat out wrong. We need to develop widespread support to grow the sport.
If the NCAA does not believe that hockey has benefited from the “Frozen Four” or soccer from the “College Cup” or softball and baseball from the “College World Series,” then the NCAA is branding and marketing to the wrong constituents.
If the NCAA believes the Academy Awards, The Emmy’s, The Golden Globes, etc., were popular in the beginning when there was no such branding or social networking, then they are sorely mistaken. Did the NCAA think Twitter would do what it has done?
Pick a name that is put through the AVCA Coaches Association this December and through media like ESPN and go with it. It doesn’t have to be “VolleyFour” or “VolleyballFour,” but at least try something and let it grow over time, as we are confident it will.
Saying the words “Final Four” drives the NCAA volleyball representatives nuts at our championships, because this phrase is technically trademarked for use in basketball only. But until they allow the volleyball national championship to have a name, we wish the four teams that make it to San Antonio come December the best at the “Final Four.” May the best team be the NCAA Champion of the “Final Four” in volleyball.
Originally published in September/October 2011