D III Women's Volleyball

A source for NCAA Division III women's volleyball info and opinion, with a focus on the Midwest and Central regions

Thank you

This graphics-free NCAA Division III women’s volleyball blog has been honored by being named a finalist for the 2016-17 Grant Burger Media Award by the American Volleyball Coaches Association.

Being a finalist of the AVCA’s Grant Burger Media Award for the Web means someone really awesome nominated this graphics-free NCAA Division III women’s volleyball blog once again. It also means someone really awesome chose to recognize this no-frills blog from among the list of nominees. I am truly thankful.

From the AVCA website:

The AVCA Grant Burger Media Award is an honor intended to recognize members of the media who have been involved in the advancement of the sport of volleyball, whether it be through consistent coverage in all mediums (sports information, print, broadcasting, web content, college student reporter and social media), production of volleyball-specific publications or extensive radio and/or television exposure. It is named in honor of Grant Burger, former Director of Sports Information and Associate Director of the AVCA (1988-92), whose hard work, innovative mind, knowledge and enthusiasm took the areas of media relations and publications at the AVCA to a higher level and increased awareness of the sport of volleyball nationwide.

As it says in the About Me Page, this blog started as an element of a larger journalism class project in 2007. My project partner and I received a fine grade for our efforts, but an award from the AVCA? That was not something I thought possible even yesterday.

I get great feedback about this blog — positive and negative — because the NCAA Division III women’s volleyball community is engaged and passionate. The tone of the blog has changed somewhat due to my desire for gainful employment, which, perhaps ironically, has curbed the breadth of my volleyball viewing over the past few years. I, too, sometimes miss the version of the blog that had hot takes and verbose recaps. The current iteration of this blog is essentially a picture-free newspaper containing concise facts with the occasional indulgent op-ed.

Picture-free newspapers are not award bait, so I am very thankful the underdog gets this sliver of the spotlight. It takes an increasingly rare perspective to see this blog as award-worthy. You have to try pretty hard to find this bland space as I don’t have any social media accounts to promote it. In 2008 — my first full year — this blog received 1,615 views. After more than 1,400 posts, this blog has now surpassed 200,000 views and 26,000 visitors, including more than 1,500 in one day last November. I honestly and sincerely learned most of those numbers minutes before you just did.

The statistical minutia is not a pat on the back. It is a thank you. There are not many options for NCAA Division III women’s volleyball blogs, but I am thankful that you have apparently passed along this picture-free newspaper within the engaged and passionate community. Taking the steps to nominate this blog for an award is a reflection of you more than it is of me. This blog would not exist if there were not volleyball players, coaches, fans, sports information directors, etc.

The AVCA Grant Burger Media Award for the Web is a tremendous honor. However, this blog will probably continue to disseminate NCAA Division III women’s volleyball info in medicinal form, devoid of pictures and anything else that makes for pleasurable viewing, because the purpose and intent of this blog was never to highlight what I can do. And just between us, there is not much I can do well anyway.

Thank you.

Yours in volleyball,
Ricky Nelson

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Written by Ricky Nelson

June 21, 2017 at 1:00 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

4 Responses

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  1. Well deserved Ricky and as I type that just know what I’m feeling is FREAKING AWESOME-NESS for you!!!!!

    Since I was named in your award bio (pretty freaking cool), I wanted to share with everyone your entire nomination write-up. This truly came from the heart and was done with immense gratitude. I know I wasn’t the first to think about nominating you or even the first to actually go through the paperwork…there is a TON of love for you out here and what follows is really from all of us!

    Ricky Nelson is the creator of the preeminent DIII Women’s Volleyball website in the United States (www.uwoshvball.wordpress.com) and, in my opinion, is the most deserving person to receive the AVCA Grant Burger Media Award for Web Journalism. Ricky is the sole contributor to the site and he primarily updates it regularly with volleyball news on the DIII programs in his region. Ricky doesn’t stop with updates on his region, however, as he provides his readers with information on NCAA volleyball news year-round as well as complete coverage of all regions during the volleyball season. He provides a one-stop (web) shop by providing links to DIII volleyball news, rankings, NCAA tournament information, scores, etc. Ricky also provides unique content on the web site with commentary that is always well thought out and pertinent to the storylines. At last check, his website was ranked 20th by Feedspot as the best volleyball websites and blogs, which is the highest rank for any site dedicated primarily to the DIII level (reference – http://blog.feedspot.com/volleyball_blogs).

    I wanted to provide my personal story in hopes that it helps Ricky’s nomination as it goes directly to the purpose of this award and that is to improve volleyball coverage and to raise awareness. I am a volleyball nut that is lucky enough to have a daughter that wanted to play volleyball in college. She ended up going to a DIII institution and I immediately began my quest to understand the DIII level. There are virtually no websites or blogs that deal primarily with the DIII level of volleyball and I was pretty discouraged until I stumbled across Ricky’s site. I immediately found past stories, informational links, conference links and a FAQ page that should be mandatory reading to anyone interested in DIII volleyball. I began to educate myself through Ricky’s site and ultimately reached out to him with additional questions. What I found was a giving man who simply loves the sport and who wants to give back to the DIII community.

    I agree that we can always improve the coverage and awareness of volleyball at the national and DI and DII levels but the lack of coverage at the DIII level is truly the black hole of volleyball in this country. Think about what level has the most teams and most students participating and how much coverage it gets. If we truly want to increase coverage and awareness at the national level shouldn’t we be engaging the majority of people who play the game? Well, Ricky does this and frankly is one of the few beacons of light in that black hole of DIII volleyball coverage. When you go to present this award for Web Journalism think about where you can make the most impact to the game. I believe we have to drive more interest at the DIII level and hook those students, parents, fans into the other levels of play. We have a large wonderful foundation of volleyball nuts (like me) and we need more people like Ricky working tirelessly to make sure they are not ignored and forgotten.

    Robert Rochelle

    June 21, 2017 at 1:30 pm

  2. Thank you, Rob, for your time and efforts. Not fishing for a reciprocal comment. Just a thank you from me to you.

    I continue with this blog because I enjoy it. Recognition is unnecessary but humbly accepted. Sort of. I mean I made a fairly lengthy post about it, so “humbly” may not be the correct adverb.

    -Ricky Nelson

    Ricky Nelson

    June 21, 2017 at 1:51 pm

  3. Ricky – well deserved, thank you for all the time and effort you put into this blog. For those of us who both love volleyball and have kids playing DIII, it is a beacon of light for a woefully under-reported sport.

    Tom Martin

    June 21, 2017 at 2:59 pm

  4. Thank you, Tom. I appreciate it.
    -Ricky Nelson

    Ricky Nelson

    June 21, 2017 at 8:37 pm


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