What are National Qualifier Tournaments?
The primary purpose of the Qualifiers is to determine, through tournament competition, which teams in various age groups will play at the Junior National Championships. Although not all teams that participate in the Junior National Championships are chosen through the Qualifiers, the Qualifiers are the first rounds of the Junior National Championships. As such, they are governed by the National Championship Division (NCD) of USAV and sanctioned by USAV, rather than being under the control of the regions where they occur.
Tournament play at the Qualifiers and at the Junior National Championships is divided into Open divisions and Club divisions. Open division teams only have one avenue to gain entry into an Open Division of the the Junior National Championships. That is to participate in an Open division at a Qualifier and either win a bid at the Qualifier or perform well enough to earn an At-Large bid. Club division teams have two avenues to gain entry into the Junior National Championships, 1) winning a bid at a Qualifier or 2) through their region’s qualifying process.
The goal of the Open Divisions at the Junior National Championships is to identify the best team in the country through rigorous competition in a particular age division from among the top 28 teams. The Open divisions of the Qualifiers are designed to identify and select those top teams.
The goal of the Club Divisions at the Junior National Championships is to showcase regionally strong teams in competition against each other and to provide the opportunity for more teams to participate at the Junior National Championships. Only the winning Club Division team receives access to the Junior National Championships through the Qualifier competition.
At the present time, there is a Junior National Championships in each of the following age divisions: 18 Open, 18 Club, 17 Open, 17 Club, 16 Open, 16 Club, 15 Open, 15 Club, 14 Open, 14 Club, 13 Club, and 12 Club. USA Volleyball may add other age divisions to the Junior National Championships from time to time. (The dates determining player eligibility for each age group can be found on the USAV Web site in the Junior Section.)
To promote inter-regional play.
To provide a high level of competition for teams.
To showcase junior talent for college recruiters and National Team programs.
To promote the growth and development of volleyball in a particular geographic area.
To provide a training ground for officials.
Currently there are nine Qualifiers: Colorado Crossroads in Denver; Tampa Bay in Atlanta; Hoosier Mideast in Indianapolis, IN; Northern Lights in Minneapolis, MN; Northeast in Baltimore, MA; Southern California in Los Angeles, CA; Far Western in Reno, NV; Lone Star in Austin, TX; and Pacific Northwest in Spokane, WA
Note: Not all Qualifiers host all age divisions (i.e., Pacific Northwest hosts only Club divisions); some Qualifiers host competition in age divisions that do not currently have a Junior National Championships (i.e., 10 & under); and one age division that has a Junior National Championship but do not have bids from Qualifiers (i.e., 12 Club).
A “bid” is a guaranteed entry into the Junior National Championships in a particular age division. There are bids for both Open Junior National Championship divisions and Club Junior National Championship divisions.
Bids are either awarded or won through one of five processes: (1) A team can win a bid in all Open divisions and some Club divisions by finishing in a certain position in a Qualifier; (2) The Junior National Championship Competition Committee awards some Open bids to teams from a pool of Open “at-large” bids; (3) Each Region with 200 or more junior players registered has at least one Club bid in each age division to award to a team from its own region according to its own process; (4) Regions receive extra bids for the Club divisions based on the number of junior female registrants from the prior season relative to other regions’ registration (the regions receiving these bids and the number of bids per division available changes from year to year); and (5) The region hosting the Junior National Championship has one extra Club bid in each division to award to a team from its own region according to its own process.
Note: “Reallocation bids” come from bids a region does not use in a particular age division, usually because that region does not have a team in the age division that can attend the Junior National Championship, and from any Club bids not awarded at Qualifiers. These bids become a pool of “reallocation” bids that are then distributed to regions based on the process described below in the section titled “Club Bids.”
Note: For 12s and 13s, redistribution of bids from the pool of Region Club bids will depend on the number of junior girls registered in those age groups, NOT on the total number of junior girls registered in the region.
To play in an Open division of the Junior National Championship, a team must either win a bid at a Qualifier or be awarded a bid through the Open at-large bid process (participation required in a Qualifier’s Open division to be considered). To play in a Club division at the Junior National Championship, a team has the opportunity to win a bid at a Qualifier (in most divisions) or to win a bid through its region’s process.
Each Qualifier will award a certain number of bids to the top finishing teams in most divisions (the exceptions at this time is the 12 Club). The number of teams in a division will determine the number of bids a Qualifier has for each Open and Club division. There will be a maximum of three (3) bids for any Open division and one (1) bid for any Club division per Qualifier. (See the formula listed in this section.)
The number of bids in a division is determined by the number of teams entered in the division on the entry deadline date. If a Qualifier accepts late entries, the number of bids for a division may increase, but will not be less than the number determined on the entry deadline date. An increased number of bids will be established according to the number of teams entered in the division on the date the seeding for the division is finalized.
No. Teams in Open
14, 15, 16, 17 & 18
No. Teams in Club
13*, 14, 15, 16, 17 & 18
In the Open divisions of Qualifiers, bids will go to the teams that finish the competition in a bid award position. A bid will “trickle down” one place (to the team finishing third in a Qualifier with two bids to award, or a team finishing fourth in a Qualifier with three bids to award) to the next highest finishing team if a team winning a bid has won a bid at a previous Qualifier. Any duplicate bids not used by trickling down will go to the Open “at-large” pool of bids.
To compete in an Open division a team must win a bid at a Qualifier or be awarded a bid through the at-large process. To be considered for an at-large Open bid a team must: 1) play in at least one Qualifier in the Open division the team is being considered for, 2) follow its region’s application process and deadline date, 3) follow the National entry process and deadline dates.
The Junior National Championship Competition Commission will award the at-large Open bid(s) to the strongest team(s) applying for at-large bid consideration, announcing those selections in ten business days, or less, after the finish of the last Qualifier.
In Club divisions, bids at Qualifiers will “trickle down.” The lowest finishing team that may win a bid at a Qualifier is the fourth (4th) place team. If a team that won a bid in a previous Qualifier is the winner in the present Qualifier, that team’s bid (the duplicate bid) will be offered to the second (2nd) place team. If the second place team chooses not to accept the bid, the bid will be offered to the third (3rd) place team. In the event that neither the second, third or fourth place team accepts the bid, the bid will revert to the Region pool for reallocation.
The pool of Club bids available for reallocation includes bids from regions that do not use all the bids they are originally allocated, as well as Qualifier bids that are not used. Regions get these reallocated bids based on how close the region’s number of junior female registrations from the prior season is to the next membership “benchmark,” relative to other region’s proximity to their next benchmark. The benchmarks are established each year according to the number of junior females registered in each region.
The Vice President is responsible for approving the reallocation of Club bids. The Events Department will prepare the reallocation formula and the list of bids available in each age division, notify the regions eligible of any additional bids available to them and gather the applications from teams filling those reallocation bid positions.
If an Open team that wins a bid or a Club team that accepts a bid at a Qualifier does not participate in the Junior National Championship in the division in which it won the bid, that team, it’s coaches, it’s club director and all it’s club’s teams will be suspended from participating in all national qualifying events for the following season.
A team winning a bid, whether at a Qualifier (Open or Club), through a regional process (Club) or in the at-large process (Open), must use the bid (play at the Junior National Championship) in the division in which it wins the bid.
If a team wins both an Open bid and a regional Club bid, the team must use the Open bid; the team’s region will decide who gets the Club bid the team cannot use. (See the following section regarding region bids.)
If a team wins a Club bid at a Qualifier and an Open bid, either from a Qualifier or through the at-large process, the team must use the Open bid. [The Club bid will be offered to the next highest finishing team at the Qualifier at which the team originally won the Club bid (down to the fourth place team),] or returned to the pool of Region Club bids to be reallocated.
Each region with 200 or more registered junior players will have at least one bid to award to a regional team, in addition to the Club bids the Qualifiers have (except for 12s). (Contact the specific region for information on how it awards its bid(s).) The number of Club bids allocated to a region is based junior female registrations from the prior season relative to other regions’ junior female registrants.
NOTE: For 12s and 13s, redistribution of bids from the pool of Region Club bids will depend on the number of junior girls registered in those age groups, NOT on the total number of junior girls registered in the region.
The roster of a team is frozen at the time the team wins a bid in a Qualifier, applies for a bid in an at-large process, or receives a bid through its regional process. Getting a bid defines the team as “qualified”.
All players listed on the roster of a team that qualified may not be on the roster of or play on any other team attempting to qualify for the Junior National Championship. This rule applies regardless of whether the qualifying attempt is in a Qualifier, at a regional event that determines which team(s) are awarded the region’s Club bid(s), or through an at-large process. Switching a player from the roster of a qualified team to the roster of a team attempting to qualify will result in sanctions being imposed on the already qualified team, its club, and/or the individual(s) involved.
Likewise, no player may switch from one qualified team to another qualified team, even within the same club.
Under the Frozen Roster Rule, a club may add player(s) to the roster of one of its qualified teams for the Junior National Championship, provided the player(s) added are members of the club and the team from which the players are switching has not qualified for the Junior National Championship. A club may not switch players between two teams that both are qualified. All players added to a roster must be on the roster submitted for at-large bid consideration. The roster is then frozen as of submission for bid consideration.
Violations of the Frozen Roster Rule will result in sanctions being imposed on the already qualified team, its club, and/or the individual(s) involved, including the player, the coach and the club director.
The Ethics & Eligibility Committee will determine sanctions for violations of the Frozen Roster Rule. For a first or subsequent offense, the sanctions may be a warning, probation, suspension or expulsion.
The information provided in this area is per the USA Volleyball Qualifier Manual. The complete manual and any updates can be found on USA Volleyball’s Web site at www.usavolleyball.org.