USA Volleyball held its annual meeting just prior to the USAV Open Nationals. In the meeting Reid Priddy presented on the importance of a professional league in the United States, “We began to lay the foundation to discuss the creation of a U.S.-based indoor professional league for men and women based upon the insights of 2008 Olympic Games gold medalist Reid Priddy.”
A professional league in the United States would be great and it is much needed, but is it, or should it be the responsibility of USA Volleyball to create and develop a professional league? Successful professional sports in the US (baseball, basketball, hockey) do not look up to their Olympic counterparts for leadership. Soccer, on the otherhand, is guided by their Olympic teams and is marginally successful as a professional sport in the United States.
Furthermore, USA Volleyball has been managing the Junior Olympic volleyball circuit for years. Recently, major volleyball clubs have objected to the management of USA Volleyball for juniors volleyball and have defected to start the JVDA. The AVCA, a major proponent of volleyball, has aligned itself with the JVDA on this movement. Could/would the same divide occur to a professional league in the United States if run by USA Volleyball? I find this divide similar to the “open wheel” race car leagues, the Indy series and Cart series. I believe the split of this form of their sport has created confusion to its fan and a severe decline in interest. Can’t we all just get along for the benefit of our sport?
I appreciate USA Volleyball’s initiative to get the professional ball rolling. I appreciate what USA Volleyball does for our sport, but are we asking too much from USA Volleyball? What’s the alternative? I do not hear much outside of USA Volleyball about a professional league and I do believe the 39 USAV Regions are a great foundation to start this league. I believe a joint effort of USA Volleyball and its regions, led by a passionate investment group could be the answer. It will be an expensive investment, but should pay great dividends for many years.