NCAA Water Polo in danger

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stickman
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Re: NCAA Water Polo in danger

Postby stickman » Thu Apr 12, 2012 11:30 am

stickman, read the first two posts in this thread. Competitive swimming seems far from successful, in fact as of recent it is in decline also.
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Compared to water polo, swimming is doing quite well.

Perhaps that's where the focus should be to grow the sport, but it seems USAWP does little nationally at that level.
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Yes I know, that's why I posted the link to the article.

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Re: NCAA Water Polo in danger

Postby caliwaterpolo » Thu Apr 12, 2012 12:00 pm

I don’t take as bleak of an outlook on water polo domestically as most. Yes, NCAA polo is constantly under fire, but it’s been that way for the better part of two decades now. I’m more worried about the sport in Europe. If it goes there, and the IOC dumps the sport, we’re faced with a dire situation from an NCAA standpoint. Good luck getting good athletes to come out for high school teams with no prospect of playing in college.
I think it’s incorrect to say the sport is not growing across America. In the last 10 years, we’ve seen it become an official sanctioned high school sport in Florida and Illinois. Texas finally got their act together, moved to one season, and I suspect it will continue to grow. Next to California, Florida and Hawaii, they are best positioned to handle a large growth with their facilities (outdoor pools in the Houston area and BIG indoor pools positioned across the state.)
A quick google news search for “water polo” shows the media in Chicagoland and Texas are reporting big games and tournaments.
At the recent Winterfest tournament in Socal, my age groupers played against a team from Colorado. Their coach said there are now several clubs in the state with active families. I think their 12U team brought about 14 kids.
I think scapegoating USA Water Polo for the lack of exposure is the easy way out. We all have our issues with the leadership, but they did set up the Speedo Cup (or whatever it’s called now) in Indiana, promote that tournament in Colorado and are running the ODP clinics nationwide.
The biggest hurdle, as someone else noted, is the pools. 6 lanes, shallow/deep with half-century old swim clubs occupying them is the norm. It takes a grassroots effort locally to get the sport up and running.
New England is really a big deal with the population base and the future growth of the sport needs to begin there. Princeton and Navy are really the only college teams who’ve taken the reins on forming youth clubs. This is a no-brainer…..Pool rental fees going to the University, extra income for your assistant coaches, ample facilities, etc. I’m not sure why Harvard and Bucknell haven’t followed suit.

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Re: NCAA Water Polo in danger

Postby Moderator » Thu Apr 12, 2012 2:33 pm

Water Polo in Europe is is serious trouble. All of the pro teams are cash strapped with most of them not able to pay their players and having a hard time making the $ requirements for TV broadcasting and travel costs. I think we will see some major readjustments in the 2012-13 pro season.

This years Final 4 scheduled for Rome was put out for bid due to a conflict with the Italian Cup of Tennis (water polo lost the date) and the only takers bid less than 50% of the going price of $100,000 for the event...with 2 teams in the Final 4,even historic powerhouse Croatia was unwilling to put up the money to host it and it wound up in Romania.

Youth participation in the sport is dropping sharply in long time powerhouse Hungary as kids defect to soccer, tennis, ice hockey and other more lucrative (and sponsored) sports.

The outlook is not good.

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Re: NCAA Water Polo in danger

Postby stickman » Thu Apr 12, 2012 5:57 pm

Here's a link to a study done by NFHS.

http://www.nfhs.org/content.aspx?id=3282

In the 2010-11 school year, There were approx. 20,000 boys playing water polo in high school. Just above water polo for boys is weight lifting at 22,000. Just below is 8-player football at 16,000. For girls, approx 18,000 played water polo in 2010-11. Just below is Slow Pitch Softball with 15,000 (370,000-played fast pitch) and just above is gymnasitcs with 22,000.

In the 2009-10 school year there were 19,000 boys in weight lifting. In one year weight lifting added 80 new high school teams in the US and about 3,000 new participants. Boys water polo added 9 new teams and dropped about 40 participants.

In 2005, there were approximately 4,000 4 and 2 year colleges and univesities in the United States.

With approx 20,000 boys playing water polo in high school, that's an average of about 6 new students per college/university...over four years.

This is what college administrators see. This is why NCAA water polo is in danger. The lack of pool space is not the issue, the lack of kids to put in the pools is the problem.

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Re: NCAA Water Polo in danger

Postby Doru Roll » Thu Apr 12, 2012 8:18 pm

stickman wrote:... Here's a link to a study done by NFHS.

http://www.nfhs.org/content.aspx?id=3282

... This is what college administrators see. This is why NCAA water polo is in danger. The lack of pool space is not the issue, the lack of kids to put in the pools is the problem.

From that same study:

Picture1.png

Looks like they'll need some new pools soon...

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Re: NCAA Water Polo in danger

Postby stickman » Fri Apr 13, 2012 12:56 am

there seems to be enough room for the 250,000 competitive swimmers.

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Re: NCAA Water Polo in danger

Postby caliwaterpolo » Fri Apr 13, 2012 1:24 am

Moderator wrote:Water Polo in Europe is is serious trouble. All of the pro teams are cash strapped with most of them not able to pay their players and having a hard time making the $ requirements for TV broadcasting and travel costs. I think we will see some major readjustments in the 2012-13 pro season.

This years Final 4 scheduled for Rome was put out for bid due to a conflict with the Italian Cup of Tennis (water polo lost the date) and the only takers bid less than 50% of the going price of $100,000 for the event...with 2 teams in the Final 4,even historic powerhouse Croatia was unwilling to put up the money to host it and it wound up in Romania.

Youth participation in the sport is dropping sharply in long time powerhouse Hungary as kids defect to soccer, tennis, ice hockey and other more lucrative (and sponsored) sports.

The outlook is not good.


Mod-

Do most of the issues in Europe stem from the financial meltdown or just poor promotion of the sport? During the 90s, I remember the Greek clubs paying large contracts and I imagine those same clubs are in peril due to the country's larger financial crisis.
In any case, it's alarming to hear about Hungary. Even after winning 3 straight gold medals, they are beginning to struggle from a youth standpoint. They have always played a beautiful, free-flowing game.

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Re: NCAA Water Polo in danger

Postby Moderator » Fri Apr 13, 2012 8:45 am

caliwaterpolo wrote:
Moderator wrote:Water Polo in Europe is is serious trouble. All of the pro teams are cash strapped with most of them not able to pay their players and having a hard time making the $ requirements for TV broadcasting and travel costs. I think we will see some major readjustments in the 2012-13 pro season.

This years Final 4 scheduled for Rome was put out for bid due to a conflict with the Italian Cup of Tennis (water polo lost the date) and the only takers bid less than 50% of the going price of $100,000 for the event...with 2 teams in the Final 4,even historic powerhouse Croatia was unwilling to put up the money to host it and it wound up in Romania.

Youth participation in the sport is dropping sharply in long time powerhouse Hungary as kids defect to soccer, tennis, ice hockey and other more lucrative (and sponsored) sports.

The outlook is not good.


Mod-

Do most of the issues in Europe stem from the financial meltdown or just poor promotion of the sport? During the 90s, I remember the Greek clubs paying large contracts and I imagine those same clubs are in peril due to the country's larger financial crisis.
In any case, it's alarming to hear about Hungary. Even after winning 3 straight gold medals, they are beginning to struggle from a youth standpoint. They have always played a beautiful, free-flowing game.


Within Europe, LEN does a pretty good job promoting the sport- every game is televised all across Europe via EuroVision and they sponsor a weekly water polo analysis show on Tv. Final 4 games have always been broadcast via TV and web. I have never belived that the problem in Europe is strictly a marketing one.

I think the basic business structure is flawed from the beginning with the same problems we face in the US: The seating capacity at indoor pools is never much more than 400-500; limit the paying customers and you limit the advertisers, income and attractiveness to mass media outlets. Compare this to the US where people routinely complain about an admission fee for top NCAA events and there is not much difference. Those in California will respond "Hold the events outdoors"...that is not possible in a winter sport IF you are looking for geographic expansion. Outdoor water polo in November is not attractive to anyone in New York, Budapest, Belgrade, Moscow etc etc.

Moving the pro events to a summer sport would help enormously by increasing spectators with temporary seating, adding fun summer events and reducing the need for expensive lighting and editing for TV viability. Compare the experience of watching a water polo webcast indoors vs outdoors during the day- the quality is FAR better thus it attracts more spectators.

Until now, pro teams have been supported by private sponsors who do it for love of the game-there is simply not enough return to justify it otherwise. Add the EU financial meltdown and it is no longer attractive or justifiable from a business perspective. All of the clubs are in serious financial trouble because there is insufficient income to offset the cost.

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Re: NCAA Water Polo in danger

Postby caliwaterpolo » Fri Apr 13, 2012 7:06 pm

Interesting. Thanks for the perspective.
It seems to me they had this same infrastructure in the 90s (when the sport was doing quite well in Europe) as it pertains to the pools. I imagine they had better TV deals/sponsors back then.
I agree that Summer competitive season would help out the attendance immensely, but you’d need to have condensed seasons (June- August) and you’d still have to deal with Olympic/World Championship breaks.
Unfortunately, the sport could be headed to a “weekend warrior” semi-pro sport like Arena Football in the US. If the clubs can’t pay decent contracts, the youth of Europe are going to flee to other sports, as they’re now doing.
I know the LEN and the rest of the community are aware of the issues and trying to make changes….can you offer us any ray of light, Mod?
I always get ripped on these boards when I try to say that growing the sport in Europe is more important than growing it domestically…………….

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Re: NCAA Water Polo in danger

Postby Moderator » Fri Apr 13, 2012 9:41 pm

LEN has a professional water polo manager who is very good. He's the one who brokers the deals with TV and media in Europe. He is a champion of the sport and a hope for the future.

LEN is currently in governance turmoil with all the self important old Europeans jockey for position in anticipation of the upcoming LEN elections. I think that has a lot to do with the problems we are seeing. Unfortunately, water polo governance around the world seems to be more about self promotion, self importance and personal profit than it is about actually growing or sustaining the sport.

I believe we will see a world wide "Save Water Polo" congress here in the US sometime next year. It will actively seek out active coaches, administrators, parents and business people from around the world to develop ideas for a coordinated, professional plan to grow the sport world wide DESPITE the governing bodies. We are involved in the plans for that because it seems to be the best hope of circumventing the old guard and getting fresh new ideas and excitement into water polo.

We will be at the European Final 4 this year to see what's going on there first hand.

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Re: NCAA Water Polo in danger

Postby brownsteve » Wed Jun 19, 2019 2:03 am

I think NCAA should start a program for attracting women towards games. Informing them benefits of games and more.

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Re: NCAA Water Polo in danger

Postby masonc333 » Thu Jun 27, 2019 11:49 am

Currently I feel that the landscape of water polo is just migrating. The level of play has definitely diminished but there is potential for growth everywhere. For example, I moved to Utah County and discovered a lack of any kind of serious program but an abundance of players here. With this I have been working with Utah Valley University to at least establish a club team. Although that is no where near the level of NCAA, it is a start and could lead to more than just a club. I would just recommend not giving up on the sport too quickly.

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Re: NCAA Water Polo in danger

Postby NoSoloPolo » Thu Jan 16, 2020 1:43 pm

Water polo at the high school level is growing. Bodes well for growth at the collegiate level, right? But, there's always a lag.
Lacrosse grew quickly in HS before NCAA schools added it.

It's interesting that when lacrosse grew it started to greatly expand recruiting outside of the "hotbed" geographies (which were Maryland, Eastern PA and Eastern NY). The cycle looked like this:

1. Growth in the sport at HS drove NCAA schools to add in order to attract students
2. New programs needed to scout top talent outside of the "hotbeds" and often closer to home to win those players
3. Rosters of top DI programs started adding kids from all over the country. The narrative became "doesn't matter where you're from any more"
4. The visibility of the sport in those "non-hotbed" areas increased due to the success stories at the HS level and a growing sense that "it doesn't matter where you are from"
5. Those programs grew...and so forth

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Re: NCAA Water Polo in danger

Postby ephpolo » Fri Jan 17, 2020 4:01 pm

NoSoloPolo wrote:Water polo at the high school level is growing. Bodes well for growth at the collegiate level, right? But, there's always a lag.
Lacrosse grew quickly in HS before NCAA schools added it.

It's interesting that when lacrosse grew it started to greatly expand recruiting outside of the "hotbed" geographies (which were Maryland, Eastern PA and Eastern NY). The cycle looked like this:

1. Growth in the sport at HS drove NCAA schools to add in order to attract students
2. New programs needed to scout top talent outside of the "hotbeds" and often closer to home to win those players
3. Rosters of top DI programs started adding kids from all over the country. The narrative became "doesn't matter where you're from any more"
4. The visibility of the sport in those "non-hotbed" areas increased due to the success stories at the HS level and a growing sense that "it doesn't matter where you are from"
5. Those programs grew...and so forth


THIS! Note that we are just starting to see a very few non-CA players on the mens and women's national teams. Farmer and Stevenson on the men's senior team; Johnson on the women's. As long as those players are there because they are qualified (and they are), this is a good sign of growth.

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