Youth Volleyball player sues over playing time

6 posts / 0 new
Last post
MissyJ's picture
Last seen: 3 months 3 weeks ago
Joined: 01/31/02
Posts: 3289
Youth Volleyball player sues over playing time

16-year-old club volleyball player, family sue team over playing time

I have noticed a few of these type of lawsuits popping up in the news lately. Granted - there truly is a lot at stake now as more and more kids vie for college athletic scholarships since schools seem to award many more of those than academic ones (a pet peeve of mine!) Without having an opportunity to get on the field/court, players don't have a chance to improve skills in game situations and certainly can't get 'credit' or be seen.

Still -- teams outside of rec play are 'in it to win it'. Coaches failing to produce winning seasons may lose their jobs. Teams without winning records rarely get a look by scouts which means *all* the players on the team then could miss out. Finally there is pressure from all of the parents on the team who believe their 'darling' deserves the most play time. When you're putting out the kind of money for these travel / club teams -- or even investing all the training time for school teams, you expect your coaches to be out to win.

So -- what's the answer? Should these type of lawsuits push club level or school teams to adopt the same policies as recreational leagues (where everyone gets equal playing time regardless of skill level?)


KimPossible's picture
Last seen: 2 days 14 hours ago
Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3473
No, competitive leagues/clubs

No, competitive leagues/clubs should not be forced to adopt the same rules as rec sports.  I think the issue in this case however is that she was verbally promised time that she ultimately did not get.

I DO think its wrong for any coaches to set expectations ahead of time that are not guarunteed in this type of setting, they should not do that.

But i don't think suing is the answer.  Honestly, this should be a known factor in competitive sports and I really find fault with the parents for not realizing that ahead of time...and I think in this case ignorance is not an excuse.

No one should expect any certain amount of time in a competitive league.  If an individual doesn't feel they are getting the playing time they deserve for their skill level, then it is upon the parents and child to find an alternative solution.

I dont' think talk about scholarships to colleges being a stake sways me at all...even if its more common, the GREAT majortiy of individuals who play at competitive levels in middle school and high school will not be moving on in this manner.  You cannot go into something like this assuming you are entitled to a scholarship that some coach has teh power to take away.

If you have the ability to get a scholarship, it will show...if you feel that is in jeapordy, they its time to start looking for another league.  Coaches need to be the ones making the decisions about playing time at this level.

Spacers's picture
Last seen: 9 months 2 weeks ago
Joined: 12/29/03
Posts: 4104
I saw an interview with this

I saw an interview with this young lady and she said it was NOT about playing time; it was that she was promised to be a starter for this team. She and the coach then had "a personality conflict" after the first game and he took her off the starting squad, not because she wasn't a good-enough player, but as a punishment for their dispute; the coach encouraged her to find another team with a coach that "liked her better." She did find another team but the league refused to transfer her to the new team, because there wasn't a verifiable hardship in her staying on the first team. Hardship is the only reason the league will transfer players after the season has begun. The league is the one that brought up play time, when it said in a court filing that anyone who didn't get enough play time might want to switch teams if the league began allowing mid-season transfers. I do think there is a hardship in this case when you have a coach that hates a player so much that he's willing to potentially lose games rather than let her play.  

As a junior in high school, this girl has (or at least she claims) already been scouted by colleges interested in taking her on their volleyball squads, and they are watching her this year to inform their decision-making for next year. So the league refusing to transfer her could very well be the difference between her being offered a scholarship or not. I understand her wanting to take this as far as she can, even to court, because at least it documents that she's not playing NOT because she's not a good player but because the coach is being petty & ridiculous. That said, it seems that everyone in this story is being pretty petty & ridiculous, not just him.

AlyssaEimers's picture
Last seen: 2 months 2 days ago
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6803
I do not believe any one

I do not believe any one player is or should be assured of playing time in competitve sports.  I believe it is very normal for some players to spend most of their time on the bench while others play a majority of the time playing.  There are also many things that factor into playing time other than just skill.  Someone that is not a team player/ball hog, or someone who recieved bad grades, or even just was mouthy to the couch or other teachers can be benched for her behaviour.  Playing sports is a privalage that can be taken away for a varity of reasons including having a conflict with the coach.

mom3girls's picture
Last seen: 1 year 1 month ago
Joined: 01/09/07
Posts: 1537
Nope, nope nope.  NO one is

Nope, nope nope.  NO one is ever guarenteed playing time or a starting position.  Coaches need to do what is best for the team. Even if that means your kid is sitting on the bench.  If her and the coach have a personality conflict then maybe the girl needs to figure out why, I am guessing with parents that are willing to sue to get her more playing time she might just be spoiled

My DH coaches and he benches kids for attitude all the time.  If a kid is disrepectful to another player, they other team or an offical they are automatically out for 1 game. 

KimPossible's picture
Last seen: 2 days 14 hours ago
Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3473
Yeah the truth is always

Yeah the truth is always somewhere in the middle.

She is part of the personality conflict....its hard to say, based on her word alone, if she is totally a victim in that or if she is actually a problematic player. 

And I don't really care that she was told she would be a starter at the beginning of the season, things can change...if a coach believes that at the beginning of the season, it does not mean he is obligated to believe that midway through the season or even after the first couple of games.

As for hardship, thats a tough call.  To me, I can see there being a case for hardship...but I'd like to see waht they are defining as hardship.

Either way, that sounds like a club matter, not a team matter.  The original article says suing the team, but is she actually suing the club?  That makes more sense.

I wonder how much they are spending on this lawsuit.

Really, i don't think this is a great attitude if you want to make it in competitive sports, at this level or a higher level.  Suing your way to the level you want to be at when you don't think things are going your way(justly or unjustly) just isn't going to cut it in the long run.