COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (July 22, 2021) – USA Volleyball and Stevenson University are offering a men’s collegiate beach tournament on Sept. 11-12 in Owings Mills, Md., as part of USAV’s National Team Development Program (NTDP). The event will be open to 16 pairs of male athletes who will be scouted through the USA Volleyball Scouting Network. Top finishers will have an opportunity to be invited to future NTDP programming.
“Access to high-quality competitive opportunities for collegiate athletes is critical to the long-term success of our National Team programs,” said Peter Vint, USA Volleyball’s chief of sport. “We are already seeing some of the positive effects that women’s collegiate beach programs are creating, and supporting the Men’s Beach Collegiate Challenge is an important step forward for the men’s game.”
Stevenson University, under the leadership of athletics director Brett Adams, was the first DIII school and the first school in the East to add a varsity women’s beach team in the spring of 2016. Adams built a lighted complex with four courts near the edge of campus. Later in 2016, he hired Olympic gold medalist and former national team coach Aldis Berzins to lead his men’s indoor volleyball team, with the goal of eventually adding a men’s beach program.
“With the Tokyo Olympics on the horizon, I believe it is important to provide opportunities and a path for young men as they aspire to be a part of our national program,” Adams said. “This collegiate avenue is but one way we can enhance the opportunities for our best men’s beach players to compete at the international level.”
Stevenson University and USA Volleyball will work with the American Volleyball Coaches Association to inform men’s volleyball coaches about the Men’s Beach Collegiate Challenge. NCAA bylaws allow exemptions from playing and practice seasons for USA National Team Development Programs, so current or recent graduate student-athletes are eligible to participate.
“College beach has been a game-changer for the women’s pipeline,” said AVCA Executive Director Kathy DeBoer. “Due to the foresight of USA Volleyball and the determination of Brett Adams at Stevenson University, we can start building a path for the men.”
Pairs must register as a team but do not need to be from the same school. The event will allow for 10 teams in the main draw, two wild cards (with one going to the host) and four teams from a qualifier on Sept. 10. The entry fee is $200 per team plus fees. Participants or their schools must cover travel and lodging expenses.
Registration will open Friday, July 23, 2021. Should interested teams exceed capacity, USA Volleyball will invite pairs based on a variety of criteria and then on a first-come, first-served basis.