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The State of Volleyball

By AVCA, 09/20/18, 12:30PM PDT


Volleyball Posts Another Year of Solid Growth

Volleyball Posts Another Year of Solid Growth


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Lexington, Ky. (September 18, 2018) — Release of participation and sponsorship reports by various governing organizations confirms that volleyball is an increasingly popular sport in colleges and high schools from across the country. Women’s court volleyball continues to lead the way with 1,755 colleges and universities sponsoring programs across various organizations.  A total of 1,073 NCAA colleges reported their intention to field a team in the 2018-19 academic year in the NCAA Sports Sponsorship Directory: 334 of those teams will compete in Division I, 303 in Division II, and 436 in Division III.  NAIA institutions currently sponsor 226 women’s volleyball programs, along with 456 two-year colleges in the United States.    


The fastest growing sector, men’s college volleyball, hit a significant milestone with a record 150 NCAA institutions sponsoring a team: 22 in D-I, 24 in D-II, and 104 in D-III.  Also, in April, the NAIA made men’s volleyball their 26th championship sport after hearing that 42 institutions will field teams in 2018-19.   Adding the 17 colleges in the California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA), men’s volleyball players now have over 200 options for collegiate varsity play.


Women’s beach volleyball, a sport that was added to the NCAA Emerging Sports List only eight years ago, has 75 institutions sponsoring varsity programs in 2018-19: 59 in D-I, 13 in D-II, and three in D-III.  Thirty-four CCCAA schools also host teams, and as many as 12 NAIA schools are adding varsity programs. The NJCAA made women’s beach volleyball an emerging sport in April, opening the way for the addition of programs in their colleges. 


“The growth in both court and beach volleyball across organizations and in both genders makes me so proud of the work of our coaches,” said AVCA Executive Director Kathy DeBoer. “No one coaches volleyball for money, it’s a love of the sport and a desire to teach it to others.”


The news is also positive for volleyball in U.S. high schools.  The recently-release NFHS participation report documented that in 2017-18, volleyball remained the top team sport for girls for the fourth consecutive year with 446,583 participants.  Texas boasted the highest number of female participants with 47,415, followed by California with 45,139.  In 27 states, volleyball was played by more girls than any other team sport.   


Boys volleyball also made significant strides gaining over 3,500 participants from last year and finishing with over 60,500.  The number of high schools offering boys volleyball has increased by over 25% in the last ten years. The NFHS data also reported over 2,500 high school sand volleyball participants including both boys and girls in California and Arizona. 





About AVCA

The AVCA, with its headquarters in Lexington, Ky., is managed by Associations International. The mission of the AVCA is to advance the sport of volleyball with AVCA coaches at the epicenter of leadership, advocacy and professional development. With a membership of over 7,000 and counting, the AVCA provides a professional network for those individuals and companies dedicated to enhancing and promoting the sport. Members include collegiate, high school, club, youth and Olympic coaches, as well as volleyball club directors. The AVCA provides education to volleyball coaches, recognition of elite players and coaches, promotion of volleyball competitions throughout the world, and networking opportunities for volleyball products and services providers. Further information is available at