NCAA volleyball notes: FDU adds men, ACC schedule trickles in, WAC takes 4 SLC teams

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FDU athletic director Brad Hurlbut, right, at Wednesday's announcement.

Fairleigh Dickinson is adding men’s volleyball for the 2021-22 school year and in doing so will be the 24th Division I school playing the men’s game.

Many conferences have yet to post, but spring schedules are starting to trickle in. We have, among others, Pitt’s from the ACC and UTSA’s from Conference USA.

And the WAC is growing as four teams from the Southland Conference, including the perennial volleyball leaders, have defected.

FDU men — The Knights announced Wednesday they will join three other Northeast Conference schools that field men’s volleyball, St. Francis Brooklyn, Sacred Heart, and Saint Francis (Pa.). FDU will join them in the EIVA. Two other New Jersey schools are also in the EIVA, NJIT and Princeton.

According to the school, men’s volleyball is the first sport the Knights have added since the inception of women’s golf in 2006. A national search for the new volleyball program’s first head coach will begin immediately.

FDU got a big boost from the First Point Volleyball Foundation, an organization that works to further men’s volleyball in America. First Point gave the school a grant of $200,000 that will be spread over four years.

“We are proud to partner with FDU and grateful for donors making it possible to support Knights Athletics with a grant,” said First Point’s Wade Garard. “How refreshing to work with a DI AD and President committed to expanding sports sponsorship.  

“The days of broad-based programming for student-athlete are not over. We are optimistic more DI administrators will follow FDU’s lead and launch programs in the years to come.” 

Pitt announces ACC slate — Pittsburgh, which dominated the ACC in 2019 but struggled to a 4-4 finish in the fall of 2020, has a spring schedule. According a news release, the ACC will feature three teams playing at one host site per weekend. In the case of the Panthers, that starts March 6 when Virginia and Georgia Tech visit. The following weekend, Pitt goes to Wake Forest to play the Demon Deacons and NC State.

Click here for the complete Pitt news release.

Pitt has the option to schedule up to four non-conference matches.

If you go to the ACC website, there is nothing updated for spring volleyball. Click here for the fall standings that saw Georgia Tech lead the way at 7-1.

UTSA will play 22 matches — The San Antonio school said it will play 10 non-conference matches against eight different teams and then play 12 Conference USA matches. 

Coach Laura Neugebauer-Groff’s Roadrunners open play January 22-23 when UTRGV of the WAC visits on Friday and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Saturday.

Th C-USA schedule is not appearing on the league website. However, according to the Conference USA website, the league is planning a volleyball championship April 1-3 at Southern Miss, but has no other details.

Other schedules — Individual programs are releasing their slates, usually with an announcement on social media, but many conferences have nothing to show. 

Some that do include the American Athletic Conference, which starts with three non-conference matches on January 22; and the West Coast Conference, which opens January 24 with San Diego at Gonzaga on back-to-back days. Also available are The Summit League slate and the Missouri Valley’s.

We covered some others, including the Big Ten, in our story last week.

WAC grows, SLC shrinks — The Western Athletic Conference added five schools to a league that plans to reinstate football in 2022, the same year all those schools join: Four of the institutions — Abilene Christian University, Lamar University, Sam Houston State University, and Stephen F. Austin State University — are in Texas and currently are members of the Southland Conference. The fifth, Southern Utah University, is a member of the Big Sky Conference.

In 2019 in Southland volleyball, SFA went 16-0 and Sam Houston 12-4 to finish second, so clearly the SLC is taking a big hit in the sport.

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