“Recruiting is just like breathing. Once you stop, you’re in a little bit of trouble,” Springfield College Men’s Volleyball coach Charlie Sullivan said.
In Division I sports, recruiting is essential to determine the success of an athletic program. Without recruiting, especially at the highest levels, athletic departments would plummet because their teams would not be able to compete with the recruiting powerhouses. Schools like Kentucky, Duke and Ohio State are at the top of the heap when it comes to bringing in the new stars, but their game differs much more than what is capable in Division III.
Even though Division III athletics are climbing up the ladder in terms of competition, they are only at the front porch of recruiting, while the other two divisions have made it through the door.
Many Division III schools struggle with recruiting because of their inability to offer athletic scholarships. Being the Birthplace of basketball and heavily linked with volleyball, Springfield College is a destination for many aspiring Division III athletes – especially with a program as prestigious as Men’s Volleyball.
The volleyball powerhouse, which took home the Morgan Classic and is ranked as the No. 1 Division III team in the country, gets a lot of interest from valued recruits.
“In October, I made a plan to come on my recruiting trip, with Coach Sullivan’s approval. Over that weekend I fell in love with the school,” freshman Kyle Jasuta said. “It had the architecture, the programs, and the family feel that I wanted. Those factors really sealed the deal for me.”
Throughout the course of the season, the coaching staff has to paint the picture for the following year and figure out who fits best on the new roster. Athletes at the Division III tier must hold be able to their own in the classroom and in the game.
“I’d say, a big part is being a good player, but having good character and being able to make good decisions are definitely important. Coach Sullivan knows that he can make you a good volleyball player, so if he can see that potential in you as a person and as a player, then you can go from there,” freshman libero Nick Rable said.
Every year, the coaches from the Springfield volleyball program and many other volleyball programs nation-wide attend a week long national tournament over the summer, where they observe the best club volleyball teams from the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. The hopes are to find a few hidden gems to add to the incoming class.
In addition to this massive summer tournament, Springfield, like many other Division III schools, recruits at regional tournaments and a few different tournaments throughout the nation.