NCAA Water Polo in danger

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Art Vandelay
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NCAA Water Polo in danger

Postby Art Vandelay » Wed Feb 15, 2012 12:04 pm

Since 1989, we've lost 20 Men's Varsity programs, while niche sports like Lacrosse has added 115 and Volleyball 36. (See the Winter edition of the NCAA Magazine "Champion.")

Now with the talks of all the women's programs dropping plus Vanguard, we find ourselves in a very dangerous place.

College coaches should start prepping their non-water polo resume if they hope to feed their families in the future.

beachwaterpolo
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Re: NCAA Water Polo in danger

Postby beachwaterpolo » Thu Feb 16, 2012 5:09 pm

Art, Here are some actual #'s from that article. Since then obviously Vanguard has dropped. Women's is similar story - but since there was no NCAA womens polo the #'s are positive, However for example water polo is +60 but soccer is +600!

In the face of title 9 for Men's sports here are the +/- results (left a few out since a long list, however you can see where we are headed):

Indoor Track +130
Lacrosse +115!!!
Cross Country +110
Outdoor Track +91
Soccer +83
Baseball +75
Golf +69
BBall +63
FBall +48
VBall +36!!!
Ice Hockey +2
Swimming -3
WATER POLO -20!!!
Skiing -26
Gymnastics -37

I agree that the coaches (especially Men's) should start prepping the non water polo resumes! It is funny to me that if you talk to most of the "top coaches" however they seem to think that the sport is doing fine.

OCPoloDad
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Re: NCAA Water Polo in danger

Postby OCPoloDad » Thu Feb 16, 2012 7:31 pm

Gotta getem young. Soccer was a ?? 25-30 years ago, now look at it. You need that wow factor or that shock moment to bring great exposure. Look what Brandi Chastain did for womens soccer. It's never been the same since. Combine a World Cup with a little skin, and look what it gets you. Not saying that the Womans National team shows a little skin as we know there is plenty of skin exposure in Polo. But, you do need that wow moment. Colleges are profit centers so anything that will bring revenue, and or postive press, is bound to be of priority to a college.

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Re: NCAA Water Polo in danger

Postby sylpolo2 » Fri Feb 17, 2012 8:16 pm

This is an Olympic year, which seems to be the most opportune time to market the sport and increase popularity if we want to preserve the sport before it loses NCAA sponsorship. That responsibility falls on USA Water Polo and perhaps even the large, well-known universities to market the sport.

A couple years ago, USA Water Polo got a deal with the television channel, Versus, to broadcast one game versus Montenegro. It was a very hyped event, but it turned out to be an extended highlight reel instead of an actual game. There is usually one or two NCAA men's games televised each year by ESPNU, and through the efforts of the Big Ten Network, multiple women's games are televised each year. These televised matches need to increase ten-fold. Any international game played in US water should be televised, not just webcast by Universal Sports. It would be an expensive endeavor, but very necessary. Nowadays, larger investments are needed to see improvement. Lacrosse used to only have a few games per year televised on networks such as ESPNU, but now there are all day marathons on ESPN. Granted they are not battling for air time with football or basketball because it is a spring sport, with all the sports channels nowadays, I'm sure water polo could fit in there somewhere.

When lacrosse was first starting to gain popularity, all the companies willing to invest in the sport were small lesser-known companies. I believe that is where we are now. USA Water Polo needs to continue to find sponsorships and work its way up the ladder to the names everyone knows like Gatorade and Nike. That is key to successful growth, because once the giant, reputable corporations are backing a sport, the spotlight on the sport increases greatly.

If water polo lost its NCAA status, this would basically mean the end of the USA Olympic team, because the NCAA is the top league one can get into in the United States. Water polo is one of the longest running sports in the Olympics, being in every one since 1900, so it has that advantage over lacrosse, which hasn't been in the Olympics since 1908. NCAA should be the primary focus for growth, because without it, the United States can kiss the Olympic dream goodbye.

Another place we should look for growth is the collegiate club level of water polo. There are currently 134 men's collegiate club teams (with equal numbers for women's teams) participating in CWPA club level, which has division championships and a national championship. These players range from new time players to former varsity players who've gone to graduate school and have no remaining NCAA eligibility. While I know it is illogical for these teams to make the jump to varsity status due to costs, it shows that many universities have the facilities to host water polo and that many universities are somewhat willing to back the sport financially, as I'm sure there are costs for hosting a tournament. The new rule change that reduces the length of the field of play to 25m could spur some growth as now almost any university with a pool could have a regulation size pool.

Frankly, USA Water Polo needs to market this sport as much as they can to save NCAA water polo and their dreams of Olympic gold. Fork out some money that we all know they have. Swimming saw massive growth after the 2008 Olympics, what's stopping water polo from seeing the same thing after the 2012 Olympics? Get Olympic water polo televised! If shooting can be a televised Olympic sport, water polo definitely can be too.

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Re: NCAA Water Polo in danger

Postby JeremyM » Mon Feb 20, 2012 1:22 pm

Maybe with the new Pac-12 network with the six regional channels and online that more water polo from those schools would be broadcasted. That would definitely help, and I am not sure why the NCAA championships are not shown, at least the finals on ESPNU or CBS Sports Network (where they were once held).

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GoalTime
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Re: NCAA Water Polo in danger

Postby GoalTime » Tue Feb 21, 2012 9:34 pm

Art Vandelay wrote:Since 1989, we've lost 20 Men's Varsity programs, while niche sports like Lacrosse has added 115


Men's lacrosse may have been deemed a niche sport back in the 80s. But that's certainly no longer the case.

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Re: NCAA Water Polo in danger

Postby mpa49 » Mon Feb 27, 2012 1:04 pm

PAC-12 network will be no help at all.

Lacrosse is growing bc the NGB that governs it has allied with good partners and is focusing on growing the game nationwide.

Talk about changing the rules to make the game more fan friendly is a red herring - the problem is there are no resources being allocated to support and grow the game adequately outside of its traditional power base. USAWP should be spending the lion's share of its resources promoting & growing the game at the HS & College level (Splashball is a great idea except that there's nowhere for those kids to play once they age up enough to be out of the splashball program).

So long as current management at USAWP is in charge, we can't reasonably expect a change in the mandate & course the sport is on. The Olympic year is making it worse bc it seems to justify their thinking that the insular ODP group deserves 80% of USAWP's resources. Get real folks - winning a gold medal in WP at the Olympics will not save this sport. Therefore you all ought to prepare for water polo to be reduced to a club sport in the very near future.
Matt Anthony
CU Women's Water Polo

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Re: NCAA Water Polo in danger

Postby beachwaterpolo » Mon Feb 27, 2012 7:12 pm

MPA, I agree that USWP needs to do a lot more. They used to (a while back) have a position dedicated to growing the sport at the college level. That position was eliminated even though it was highly successful. Lacrosse had a small army of full time people aggressively dedicated to this. So it is no wonder why their #'s are so ++++!
I don't agree that the rules are a red herring however. Lacrosse like volleyball has made positive changes to the rules and this has also fueled growth. Lacrosse like other sports lengthened the shot clock and it was a very positive move. Seems like any changes water polo makes are in the wrong direction like shortening the shot clock! We need to look at why the game is so mysterious to the common spectator and make changes. I do think the recent rule change to change the course to 25M will make it more exciting and also will enable the game to be played in way more pools. We will see, but I am hopeful because something needs to happen soon.
I also agree winning a gold medal will not save the sport. They need to devote resources to grass roots and collegiate development of teams!

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GoalTime
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Re: NCAA Water Polo in danger

Postby GoalTime » Tue Feb 28, 2012 4:55 pm

beachwaterpolo wrote:Lacrosse like other sports lengthened the shot clock and it was a very positive move.

There is no shot clock in NCAA men's lacrosse.

beachwaterpolo
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Re: NCAA Water Polo in danger

Postby beachwaterpolo » Wed Feb 29, 2012 3:13 am

The NLL - National Lacrosse League has 30 sec shot clock, MLL has 60 sec and NCAA none.

NBA is 24 sec shot clock, Mens NCAA BBALL is 35 seconds. Are the players in NCAA not prepared for NBA?

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Re: NCAA Water Polo in danger

Postby lpm » Mon Mar 05, 2012 5:14 pm

USAWP seems to have it backwards . . . allowing college programs to flail while pumping up their Spashball programs. If there is no hope of playing in college, why would any parent start their kid in the sport? It’s not an all-American seasonal pastime, like baseball or soccer, that most kids play at some point. Water polo requires year-round dedication and is a taxing sport, and parents squirm to see Johnny mixing it up in the water if they’re not accustomed to it. Kids play polo because they love the game and want to continue playing in college. At least that’s why my kids play. USAWP needs to ensure NCAA programs are still around if they’re going to grow their SplashBall program. Mid-west college programs would help grow the sport in those regions. My kids love to go to college games; it shows them what’s possible if they work hard. I believe water polo is the oldest Olympic team sport, and shame on USAWP if we lose our edge because we’ve lost the NCAA training grounds for our athletes. Sorry for my rant, but great ad campaigns and polo on pool noodles aren’t going to cut it.

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Re: NCAA Water Polo in danger

Postby GDawg » Mon Mar 05, 2012 8:49 pm

IMHO USAWP Chris Ramsey as the leader of the NGB of WP, has his head up his backside, thus your comment has it backwards make a lot of sense.
For example:
The NGB publication used to be a quarterly money magnet, as advertising publications are designed to be.
Since he and his, I'm sorry to say cronies, have adjudicated the purpose to self promotion, the opportunity to make extra money selling ads to related companies was rendered extinct, like the dinosaurs.
This single Godlike move supported by the crony staff was and still is reality challenged, IMHO.
This is my personal opinion only, not meant to be hurtful in anyway, rather, helpful to those who have seen this NGB's short sightedness as I and others have.
USAWP needs to pull their heads out and start growing the sport if it's going self sustain itself.
Go green USAWP, sell ads in Skipshot to grow money.
That's a no brainer even for the reality challenged.

Thanks WPP for keeping this real.

Fill the NGB publication with ads from this WATER POLO related products, that's where the support begins. Call it old school, but it worked.

GDawg

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Re: NCAA Water Polo in danger

Postby madone » Mon Mar 12, 2012 5:51 pm

the one thing that lacrosse has done that water polo has not done is gone beyond it's "hot beds" and traditional communities. there are kids playing lacrosse from every background. if you look at the history of lacrosse in america, it mainly resided in the northeast. in the northeast boarding schools, the ivy leagues and the mid-atlantic public high schools- southern connecticut to virginia. what those players decided to do was move to the midwest, the southwest, the south and west. they started new programs, taught new players and got new areas exposed to their sport. they built the brand through younger players and made it cool. they had one game broadcast per year- national championship and built a professional league that got almost no television time. by building at the bottom and introducing new players, they have grown over the last 20 years. there is still very little money for pro lacrosse players, but they had the vision to grow at both ends.

water polo has not done this. the fault lies at the top and the bottom. we have not grown as fast in either directions. few players who become coaches leave their home clubs and start new programs and very few programs exist that target low-income areas or minority communities. water polo is a primarily rich white sport. we all know this. the people that played lacrosse knew that about their own sport and they changed it. they reached out to every community they could find and marketed their sport. if we look at this reality about water polo and understand that we need to go beyond our traditional communities and start teaching more kids to play and getting new families excited about the sport, more people will care. growing at the bottom and growing at the top is required in order for the sport to prosper.

just so you know, i am planning to do this work as well.

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GoalTime
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Re: NCAA Water Polo in danger

Postby GoalTime » Tue Mar 13, 2012 6:30 pm

madone wrote:the one thing that lacrosse has done that water polo has not done is gone beyond it's "hot beds" and traditional communities.

Very true. And a key driver of that growth has been the evolution of lacrosse equipment over the past few decades. When I played in Upstate New York during the 70s the sport was not much more than clunky leather helmets, heavy wooden sticks made on Native American reservations, and very muddy playing fields. It was a Northeast niche sport in large part because gear was produced in rather limited quantities by cottage-industry companies. Today's sticks are lighter, more uniform -- so the game is much easier and accessible for entry level participants. Global companies like New Balance, Nike, Reebok, Adidas, Cascade, Warrior are defining the new lacrosse experience -- which is seen as a very cool game to play these days.

So the burning issue for water polo -- what steps are required to broaden the sport beyond current hotbeds? Great question.

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Re: NCAA Water Polo in danger

Postby Doru Roll » Tue Mar 13, 2012 6:35 pm

GoalTime wrote:... So the burning issue for water polo -- what steps are required to broaden the sport beyond current hotbeds? Great question.

Great question indeed. I for one would start by moving USAWP from Huntington Beach back to where it all started: New York.

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