A potential threat of Pac-12 schools boycotting Grand Canyon in all sports will not stop Stanford from scheduling the newest NCAA Division I men’s volleyball team for the upcoming season.
Grand Canyon coach Jeremy Price said in a recent interview with Off the Block that the Antelopes will play a road non-conference match against the Cardinal in the opening weeks of the 2014 season.
This scheduled match between the two schools comes after the Pac-12 leadership earlier this summer submitted a letter to the NCAA protesting Grand Canyon getting Division I status while being a for-profit university. In addition, CBSSports.com reported that the Pac-12 had internal discussions about prohibiting its members from playing Grand Canyon in any sport.
While the Pac-12 does not sponsor college men’s volleyball, Stanford and the two other Pac-12 schools with men’s volleyball teams play in the conference’s affiliated league of the MPSF.
Price said a potential Pac-12 boycott was never discussed between the Grand Canyon and Stanford coaches when scheduling their non-conference match. The coach also said he is looking forward to playing Stanford, especially after almost upsetting the Cardinal in a four-game loss last season.
“We really set the tone by playing Stanford last year,” Price said.
Stanford returns a majority of starters after finishing last season ranked in the nation’s top 10 and advancing to the MPSF Tournament quarterfinals.
The Antelopes in their fourth year in the MIVA finished last season with their first winning record in program history. In addition, Grand Canyon upset Ohio State in the MIVA Tournament quarterfinals for the program’s first postseason victory.
“Last year was a series of first for our program,” Price said. “All those things are now done with, and I’m really glad that they are now done with. Now we can just focus on being a really good men’s volleyball team.”
The Stanford match will be part of a four-match California road trip to open Grand Canyon’s season. Grand Canyon during the road trip will also play Pacific and the defending-NAIA champions Concordia.
“Our first four matches on the road are against really tough, seasoned teams,” Price said.