American Volleyball Coaches Association executive director Kathy DeBoer is not sitting around waiting for sports, including volleyball, to get eliminated from NCAA Division I, especially not after five conferences have petitioned the NCAA to cut back on the number of sports they’re forced to sponsor.
No, the former Kentucky coach and leader of the country’s largest volleyball coaches organization is on the forefront of considering what could happen to our sport because of the coronavirus, the shutdown and the economic impact on NCAA programs.
We caught up Wednesday morning and talked about NCAA Division I women’s volleyball, the situation with men’s volleyball, and more.
DeBoer is also a key member of the Intercollegiate Coach Association Coalition and she and her counterparts sent this letter to Division I conference commissioners. Included in that letter: “The economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic places a lasting burden on both higher education and intercollegiate athletics alike, but slashing opportunities for students is not the solution.” Click here to read it in its entirety.
There also is a petition on change.org called “Stop NCAA athletic programs from being cut during pandemic.” Click here to learn more.
The blog DeBoer wrote that details the situation for her constituents follows the video.
“On April 9, the commissioners of the Group of Five Conferences (American Athletic, Mid-American, Sun Belt, Conference USA, and Mountain West) sent a letter to NCAA President Mark Emmert asking for consideration of a reduction in Division I sports-sponsorship minimums. 130 schools currently play 85-scholarship football and their sponsorship minimum is 16. The only reason to seek this reduction is to drop sports.
“On Saturday, April 18, the AVCA, along with a group of other coaches’ associations, hired the New York-based public relations firm, Counter Point, to assist us with messaging to derail this initiative. Our time is short. The DI Council meets April 23-24 and the DI Board of Directors meets April 29-30.
“During the next two weeks we will need you! We will be sending messaging through Twitter and ask you to share, comment and pass along to your followers and fans. Our goal is a statement from those in leadership positions in DI that reductions of opportunity for Olympic sport student-athletes is not the answer to our current crisis.
“We are not tone-deaf to the difficulties in higher education caused by this pandemic. We have had coaches furloughed, we have seen travel restrictions, cancelled conference tournaments, delayed returns to campus, hiring freezes and salary reductions. A sport can recover from a reduced schedule, a shortened season, a smaller staff or even scholarship cuts, but a team cannot recover from elimination.
“Title IX will protect women’s sports to a degree; twice as many men’s sports have been dropped in the last 10 years. Sitting out this protest banking on this protection, however, is shortsighted. Allowing disinvestment in DI in the hopes that your program will survive devalues sports on college campuses. This is not the time for ‘save yourself’ thinking but for collective action that aggregates our voices and shows those in leadership positions that people care about our sports.”