On Thursday afternoon, the NVL announced that it has canceled the remainder of the 2017 season, just two weeks prior to its scheduled event in Hermosa Beach.
What a change of pace this is.
Just a few months ago, Leonard Armato ignited a firestorm. There he was, partnering up with the NVL, allowing the National Volleyball League to join the World Series of Beach Volleyball.
There was Kerri Walsh-Jennings, side by side with Armato, and the NVL had to be counting its blessings as rumors abounded that Walsh, the greatest beach volleyball player of all time, the three-time gold medalist, the 6-feet of sunshine – that Kerri Walsh – would be playing for the NVL.
There was the AVP contract boycotts. Casey Jennings held out. Billy Kolinske held out. Walsh-Jennings held out. Robbie Page held out.
An eleventh-hour meeting between AVP CEO Donald Sun and various players inspired some confidence, as every player at the meeting exited with an abundance of sunny social media posts.
But still, nobody knew what to make of the AVP, amid all the turmoil, and the NVL, with its financially savvy partner and the supposed backing of the GOAT.
Now we know: The AVP is the last man standing.
Walsh-Jennings did plan on playing on the NVL this year, according to Al Hannemann, the founder of the Tour, and Armato did partner with the Tour, but it wasn’t enough to breathe life back into the NVL. Not yet at least, and I do hope that when it was announced that there are plans for a 2018 season, those words come to fruition.
Frankly, it sucks. It sucks to see the NVL go down, because as anybody with a basic, fundamental grasp of economics will tell you, competition breeds performance, forces improved products.