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Coaches: Venue, Coverage Diminish NCAA Volleyball Tournament

Apr 13, 2021, 2:32 PM | Updated: 3:59 pm
NCAA Volleyball Tournament...
A photo of the 2019 NCAA Division 1 Women's Volleyball Championship logo on the court during the NCAA Division 1 Women's National Championship game between the Wisconsin Badgers and the Stanford Cardinal on December 21, 2019 at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, PA. (Photo by Mark Alberti/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
(Photo by Mark Alberti/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Coaches of two of the top teams in the NCAA Division I volleyball tournament are complaining about the setup for the event next week in Omaha, Nebraska.

First- and second-round matches and regional semifinals will be played in a convention center with what Nebraska coach John Cook says are inadequate locker facilities.

“I was on a call yesterday, [and] a lot of coaches are concerned about the setup in Omaha, in the convention center,” Cook said. “We have a practice time an hour before our match on Thursday. We don’t practice an hour before our match on a game day, so there’s just a lot of stuff like that that everyone’s going to have to navigate and was concerned about.

“And then the logistics of actually playing a match, having a locker room, having a whiteboard, having bathrooms, things like that,” Cook continued. “Where do they change? The volleyball players warm up and then they change into their uniforms; how’s that going to work [if] you’re in the middle of Convention Hall C?”

The CHI Health Center arena will be site of the national semifinals and final.

Wisconsin’s Kelly Sheffield says he’s disappointed that first- and second-round matches will be streamed on ESPN’s digital platforms without play-by-play announcers or analysts.

“It’s stunning that they’re not going to be putting a broadcast team because you could easily do that [with] people from their homes,” Sheffield said on April 8. “It’s just lazy that you’ve got an NCAA tournament that only has 48 teams in it but you’re not going to be able to have commentators or play-by-play, that you’re just going to be looking at silence while watching NCAA tournament games.”

Purdue coach Dave Shondell posted on social media that ESPN was working to include commentators into the opening rounds.

ESPN confirmed the efforts in a statement to The Washington Post.

“ESPN is committed to presenting the NCAA Volleyball Championship in its entirety for the first time this year, including the first and second round matches. Despite the variety of challenges related to the pandemic, all 47 matches will be live on an ESPN platform and will include commentators,” the statement read.

“Contrary to reports, players were never expected to change clothes on the bench – each team will have a secure changing area on site,” though it did not give any further details or explain the confusion,” the NCAA said in a response.

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Coaches: Venue, Coverage Diminish NCAA Volleyball Tournament