Men’s Volleyball Sees 86% NCAA Participation Increase Over 15 Years

  0 Braden Keith | March 09th, 2017 | Big West, College - Men's Indoor, Conference Carolinas, Division III, EIVA, Independents, MIVA, MPSF, News

The number of opportunities for men to play college volleyball has drastically increased in the new millennium, even though the number of Division I opportunities has been relatively stagnant.

According to the NCAA, the number of roster spots in college volleyball has grown from 1,183 in the 2000-2001 season to 2,197 in the 2015-2016 season. That includes a 153% increase in scholarship-less Division III.

In the NCAA, Division I and Division II programs play in a single unified league.

This is a bit of a recovery from a huge dropoff in opportunities between the early 1980s through the 1989-1990 season: the first decade after the NCAA officially recognized women’s sports. In that period, the number of men’s roster spots fell from 1,522 to 1,279, including a loss of 100 spots in Division I alone. Over that same period, roster sizes exploded from 13.8 to a peak of 19.1 players per team in 1991-1992.

Over the same period as the NCAA roster size data covers below, the number of Division I teams has fallen from 22 to 21, but Division II (17 to 25) and Division III (42 to 76) have exploded.

In total in the 2015-2016 season, 10.9% of total NCAA member institutions sponsored men’s volleyball. That’s an increase from the 8.4% that sponsored the sport in the 1981-1982 season.

By comparison, 95.6% of the NCAA’s member institutions sponsor indoor women’s volleyball for a total of 17,119 athletes. Beach volleyball had a total of 56 programs (5% of total members) and 909 total athletes in 2015-2016 – the first year in which the NCAA sponsored a national championship. That’s more than a 400% increase from the 2011-2012 season.

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About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and co-founder of Braden's first foray into sports journalism came in 2010, when he launched a swimming website called The Swimmers' Circle. Two years later, he joined as a co-founder. Long huge fans of volleyball, when Braden and the SwimSwam partners sought an opportunity to …

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