January 2, 2024
Volleyball fans should brace themselves for culture shock as the startup Pro Volleyball Federation embraces the cutthroat dynamic of American professional sports.
Training camps across the PVF crank up this week and they will operate similarly to those in pro football, basketball and baseball:
Not everybody signed will suit up for the seven teams when final rosters are set.
So be prepared to perhaps see your favorite player hit the waiver wire. Expect trades and players changing uniforms.
Several of the teams will open camp with 20 players. Only 14 will make the travel squads. Two more will stick as “practice players,” but those have to be rookies. Volleyball in the United States has entered a brave new world of “hard choices” for coaches and even potentially bruised egos for players.
We’ve already seen one signee placed on waivers (setter Morgan Bergren by the Grand Rapids Rise) before training camps begin.
The franchise with the most stacked roster, and thus the one likely to be on rival coaches’ radar, is the Omaha Supernovas.
In a wide-ranging interview last week with VolleyballMag, Supernovas coach Shelton Collier pointed out that the new league’s competitive training camps present a vastly different scenario to American volleyball fans.
“It’s unique in that pro volleyball is being modeled after American sports, where we have training camps, people get selected to teams and people get cut,” said Collier, a coaching veteran of more than 40 years who is in the AVCA Hall of Fame. “Our fans aren’t really used to that. Players coming into college programs on scholarships are going to be there. Overseas volleyball, when you sign a contract, you know you’re going to be one of a couple of American players on a team.
“Now here comes the PVF with a traditional American sports model. It’s truly like the NFL or major-league baseball where players try out in training camp, the roster gets whittled down and tough decisions are made.”
That process figures to spark conversation, speculation, and (who knows?) even a few arguments among fans, all of which should be viewed as positive as the league strives to carve a niche on a crowded sports menu.
Let’s look at the nuts and bolts of the PVF’s waiver system. Claims will be made in the reverse order of the college draft, so that order is as follows: 1. Supernovas, 2. Atlanta Vibe, 2. Orlando Valkyries, 4. Rise, 5. Vegas Thrill, 6. San Diego Mojo, 7….