Top 20 college men’s volleyball storylines from the off-season

It’s been an off-season in name only for college men’s volleyball during the last eight months.

Check out the top 20 off-season storylines from college men’s volleyball that you need to know about before the 2015 season starts in January.

1. RPI added to selection committee criteria
The NCAA Division I Championships Sports/Management Cabinet at its annual fall meeting approved a proposal to include the Rating Percentage Index as part of the men’s volleyball selection committee criteria. To read more about this change to the NCAA Tournament selection committee criteria, click here.

2. All-American setter Christenson returns to USC for senior season
Setter Micah Christenson after helping lead the U.S. Men’s National Team to a gold-medal finish at the FIVB World League during the off-season will return to USC for his final college season. However, USC coach Bill Ferguson said in an interview with Off the Block that he was uncertain during the summer if Christenson would return to USC or forego his senior season to become a professional early. To read more about Ferguson’s view of Christenson returning to USC, click here.

3. Committee to make NCAA Tournament selection process more transparent
Committee chairman Ron Shayka said in an interview with Off the Block that the committee at its annual meeting recommended to make publicly available all the statistical analysis of teams the committee receives from the NCAA. This decision came in the aftermath of the controversy surrounding the committee’s selection of the at-large bids for the 2014 NCAA Tournament. To read more about this transparency effort, click here.

4. Extra week added to NCAA Tournament starting in 2016
The NCAA approved a proposal to expand the NCAA Tournament to two weeks beginning 2016 with opening-round matches taking place during the first weekend. This change also creates the possibility of the opening-round matches being played at the on-campus sites of the higher seeded teams. To read more about this NCAA Tournament change, click here.

5. MPSF teams add more non-conference matches
The MPSF during the off-season increased its amount of non-conference matches against teams from the MIVA and EIVA for the upcoming season. To read a breakdown of what MPSF teams can benefit the most on Selection Saturday because of their non-conference schedules, click here.


6. Preseason All-American Teams released
A nationwide voting committee selected 22 players to the annual Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. Preseason All-American Teams. The Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. Preseason All-American Teams recognizes the NCAA Division I-II men’s volleyball players projected to be the best in the nation during the upcoming season. To read what players earned Preseason All-American honors, click here.

7. Loyola leads nation with 7 Fab 50 recruits
The defending NCAA champions Loyola led all schools with seven incoming high school recruits making the 2015 Volleyball Magazine Fab 50 recruits. The Fab 50 is an annual list that ranks the nation’s top 50 boys’ volleyball high school seniors. To read more about Loyola’s recruits and the Fab 50 list, click here.

8. Off the Block releases first NCAA rally scoring era record book
In an effort to preserve the sport’s history, Off the Block released in July the nation’s first compiled rally scoring era record book for NCAA Division I-II men’s volleyball. To view the new rally scoring era record book, click here.

9. Inaugural Bryan Ivie Award to be presented in 2015
Off the Block in the upcoming season will present the inaugural Bryan Ivie Award to the best opposite in NCAA Division I-II men’s volleyball during the regular season. The Bryan Ivie Award — named after the two-time National Player of the Year recipient and USC All-American Bryan Ivie — will be the first national position-based award in college men’s volleyball history given to an opposite. To read more about the Bryan Ivie Award, click here.

10. College players lead U.S. to bronze medal at NORCECA
The U.S. Men’s Junior National Team one day after losing in the semifinals rebounded to sweep Puerto Rico 26-24, 25-19, 27-25 and win the bronze medal at the international tournament. BYU incoming recruit Storm Faagata-Tufuga in the bronze medal match had a team-high four blocks and nine kills. To read more about this bronze-medal finish, click here.

11. Ball State campaigning to name building after Hall of Fame coach Shondell
Ball State as part of the Cardinal Commitment: Developing Champions campaign announced this summer it is attempting to raise $4 million to name a volleyball practice facility in honor of retired Ball State coach Don Shondell. To read more about this campaign, click here.

12. MPSF reschedules upcoming conference tournament
The MPSF coaches at its annual fall meeting voted to play the 2015 conference tournament semifinals and championship match on back-to-back nights instead having its traditional one-day off between postseason matches. This change to play a Friday night championship match was made following the NCAA’s decision to move Selection Sunday up one day to Selection Saturday. To read more about the 2015 MPSF Tournament restructuring, click here.

13. Ohio State associate AD joins selection committee
The NCAA recently announced that Ohio State associate athletics director Janine Oman was selected as the Midwest representative on the three-person NCAA Division I-II men’s volleyball selection committee. To read more about this change to the NCAA Tournament selection committee, click here.

14. Concordia-Irvine starts transition to become NCAA Division II member
The Concordia-Irvine athletics department announced in July that all of its teams including men’s volleyball have been accepted to the NCAA Division II membership process. The transition to NCAA Division II will take three years for Concordia-Irvine, which reached the NAIA men’s volleyball championship match last season. To read more about Concordia-Irvine becoming an NCAA member, click here.

15. Loyola signs Davis to new 5-year deal
The Loyola athletics department announced in the summer that Shane Davis signed a five-year contract extension to be the Ramblers head coach that will last through the 2019 season. Davis led Loyola last season to the program’s first national championship. To read more about the Davis’ new contract, click here.

16. Erskine tabs former conference title winner as new head coach
The defending-Conference Carolinas champions Erskine announced it hired Cole Tallman to be its new head coach for the 2015 season. Tallman led Mount Olive to conference championships in 2010 and 2011 before leaving the school at the end of the 2012 season. To read more about the Erskine new coach, click here.

17. Emerging NCAA team Holy Names hires new head coach
Holy Names announced in May that its women’s volleyball coach Ali Oliver will assume the men’s volleyball head coaching responsibilities for the upcoming season. Oliver becomes the third active female head coach of a NCAA Division I-II men’s volleyball team. To read more about this coaching hire, click here.

18. Alderson Broaddus lands former conference champion as new coach
Alderson Broaddus announced in July that it hired former Pfeiffer coach Greg Walker to be its new men’s volleyball head coach for the upcoming season. Walker in his one season with Pfeiffer led the Falcons to a 17-win season and the 2013 Conference Carolinas championship — Pfeiffer’s second straight conference title. To read more about this coaching hire, click here.

19. NJIT hires former Sacred Heart assistant as next head coach
NJIT announced in August that it hired Danny Goncalves as the men’s volleyball team’s new head coach for the upcoming season. Goncalves, a former club volleyball director and Sacred Heart assistant coach, replaces Ryan McNeil who did not get his contract renewed at the end of the 2014 season. To read more about the new NJIT coach, click here.

20. MIVA hires new commissioner with championship background
The MIVA announced that it named long-time college athletics administrator Craig Barnett as its new commissioner. Barnett since 2011 had served as the commissioner of the American Lacrosse Conference and oversaw the conference win two NCAA championships in his first two years. To read more about the new MIVA commissioner, click here.