Nothing like a new Member Team to get me excited about the NCDA. It probably gets me through weeks of paperwork. There’s little things that teams do, like answering a request, or posting a game score so I don’t have to search for it. Those get me through the day. But a new, Upcoming Team submitting their contact information and getting ready for their induction match? That’s something that gets me thinking about the League’s future.
We had Penn State join at Nationals 2013, and Saint Ambrose [in Iowa] submit their contact information on May 5th. In order to further develop the League with new schools throughout North America, we first have look at how and why we’ve grown.
A short history lesson
The League started with just five teams. DePaul, Kent, Ohio State, Michigan State, and Delta. It’s likely these were the first collegiate dodgeball clubs in existence. Since then, most teams have joined the League because of sheer word-of-mouth. There are plenty of stories regarding team uprisings based just on one individual going through all the school bureaucracy.
Creating a student organization, understandably, varies from institution to institution. But the general process usually starts with a small handful of people. Those handful approach the Student Organization or Club Sports department with a request to start an organization, and the management guide through the process.
While the NCDA’s strategy for new teams includes contacting Club Sport departments through email, this rarely results in any significant gains. Many times we’ll get a response that says “we cannot directly solicit the general student population.” In that case, we usually reply that the department keep our information on file future start-ups.
We have a giant list of all the schools we’ve looked at. It includes any schools that have dodgeball intramural programs or even club sport programs. We start by researching all the possible collegiate institutions in North America. From that research, we contact schools that 1) have dodgeball club sports and 2) have IM programs to see if any of those students might be interested in starting up a club to play against other schools by way of our League.
Even then, there are some schools that contact us seeking information to start up a club at their school. Granted, we help as much as we can by explaining the little that is needed to join the NCDA. We have all been through the process, so we’re able and eager to help. Ultimately, it is the individuals of the start-up team that truly have the final say in when a team might grow to compete in intercollegiate competition.
Grand Valley started up a team essentially on some quality begging from Michigan State. GVSU essentially started on a dare and ended up dominating the League for four years. What to take from this is that Captains of NCDA teams are the best instigators of new teams. At its core, our League is a giant pick up game of dodgeball. We have some common rules, but we’re still a bunch of college players coming together to play other collegiate student athletes.
That’s why most of our expansion will result from new local teams within an hours drive of current NCDA Member Teams. Current members will help these new teams with our ruleset, and explain how the League functions. Granted, we aren’t that complicated, but it never helps to have a friend explain the complicated things to you.
Personally, I take great pride in helping Moody Dodgeball in joining the NCDA. As an officer of DePaul Dodgeball, I managed to reserve some space in the Budget to donate ten balls to the team. Other than that, DePaul also played Moody numerous times and we included them in our regular practices. Through that, they learned the game. I would offer any upcoming team my Officiating services for minimal cost. All they have to do is give me a place to stay! I’ll help that inducting match run smoothly and as enjoyable as possible.
You’ll find that helpful spirit among many of our League’s current players and alumni.
Upcoming Recruitment Strategies
The next few posts will detail the League’s strategy for expansion. We’ll explain our plans for continuing our East Coast expansion (we had a truly awesome increase this year), as well as what we have planned for the South and the Great Plains.
With so much happening this season, its important to remember what got us here! It’s our small, integrated dynamic that brings individuals together. There’s a lot of love in this League. No matter what team you’re up against, let’s just remember the adopted NCDA motto…. Everybody love everybody!