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Star-Bulletin Sports

Thursday, December 14, 2000



Final Four

rally against
rally scoring

Three of the four coaches at the
NCAA volleyball championships
like the present scoring system

By Pat Bigold

RICHMOND, Va. -- Some say it will increase the marketability of volleyball.

Others say it will drive away many of its most loyal fans.

But the concept of rally scoring, used in the Olympic Games and international competition, has enough support in the United States to make it a hot issue here at this week's American Volleyball Coaches Association meetings.

Bill Kauffman, AVCA director of communications, said that while it's ultimately up to the NCAA, the more than 1,000 coaches in town -- from prep to Division I -- will have an opportunity to express their feelings this week.


Bullet Where: Richmond, Va.
Bullet When: Today's semifinals -- Hawaii (31-1) vs. Nebraska (32-0), 1 p.m. HST; Wisconsin (32-3) vs. USC (29-2), 4 p.m. HST. Saturday's final -- 10:30 a.m. HST
Bullet Radio: Hawaii matches live on KCCN-AM (1420).
Bullet RealAudio: 'Net broadcast Click Here
Bullet TV: Hawaii vs. Nebraska, O16, 1 p.m. (live), ESPN2, 8:30 p.m. (delayed). Saturday's final, ESPN2, 10:30 a.m. (live).

But over at Richmond Coliseum, site of the NCAA final four, three of the coaches vying for a national title said they would not support rally scoring.

"I'm opposed to it," said John Cook, of No. 1 Nebraska. "If the reason to change it is for the new fans, it's a mistake. I feel Hawaii, Nebraska, and Wisconsin have the most to lose in the wake of its negative impact. We could turn away the fans we have.

"We polled our fans and with over 1,000 votes cast, 97 percent are against going to rally scoring."

Cook argues that fans want the sideouts.

"The reason is that they've seen the great comebacks in the (NU) Coliseum," he said. "That's why our fans come. We saw it against Arizona (in the regional final) Saturday night and against South Carolina (in the second round).

"The rally scoring limits a team's ability to cut into a lead. We feel pretty strongly about it."

Reminded that many say rally scoring would open business and media doors that have been closed, Cook argued that the sport simply needs more advocates in the community.

"We feel there needs to be more promotion (of volleyball) within communities," said Cook. "Kansas State drew several matches over 5,000. Texas Tech broke attendance records. Kansas sold out for a couple of matches. Missouri broke attendance records.

"If a team's good and they promote in the community and make it a priority, in college towns in the Midwest they're going to draw."

Nebraska was second again to Hawaii in overall attendance this season, drawing 80,252 for a 4,224 average. The Wahine drew153,588 for an average 6,986.

Hawaii head coach Dave Shoji, who obviously doesn't have to sell Hawaii people on volleyball, said he, too, is opposed to rally scoring.

"I've been a proponent of traditional scoring," said Shoji, whose No. 3 Wahine face the Huskers today in the NCAA semifinals. "I'm kind of old and played the game a long time with this system. So I'm not one who relishes seeing rally scoring come in.

"I will accept it, I won't complain about it," he added. "But I think our fans in Hawaii like the way the game is played now and they don't see a need to change. I can see all the TV implications but I just personally don't like rally scoring at all."

Wisconsin head coach Pete Waite said that seesaw battles like his No. 4 team's 3-2 win over UCLA last weekend might never materialize under rally scoring.

"You don't have the sideouts going back and forth," said Waite. "There were times when it went 9, 10, 11 times back and forth and nobody scored and the tension builds. Whereas in rally scoring that's going to change the situation quite a bit."

USC head coach Jerritt Elliott was rally scoring's lone backer.

"I think right now the sport is moving toward rally scoring," said Elliott. "I think we need to make a decision. Year in, year out the coaches hem and haw and we don't get anywhere. The advantage would be more opportunity for live TV. And it (matches) would be a reasonable time span, not drag on for long periods of time. It's very spectator friendly."

The men's collegiate game will begin using rally scoring next month. They will also use a "let'' serve where the service ball is playable if it hits the net and continues over to the opposing court.

UH Athletics
Ka Leo O Hawaii

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