While there may be less teams at the annual AAU Volleyball Nationals in Orlando this year, the nation’s largest amateur indoor volleyball tournament will nevertheless proceed.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the AAU expects about 500 teams to attend this year’s nationals. That’s down from about 2,800 in past years.
The 47th annual AAU Volleyball Nationals, originally scheduled for mid-June, has been shortened from 13 days to just nine, taking place July 14-22 in Orlando.
Tournament organizers will implement a number of safety and health-related protocols. The usual opening ceremony has been nixed this year, and spectators are not allowed. However, teams can have up to 10 chaperones per roster.
Amateur Athletic Union president and CEO Roger Goudy said the tournament normally has more than 160 courts set up between the Orange County Convention Center and Disney’s Wide World of Sports’ HP Field House. This year, only 80 courts will be in use between the north and south halls at the convention center. That’s partly because the NBA will be moving into Disney’s Wide World of Sports’ HP Field House.
Goudy said that the NBA’s events would make postponing the event again extremely difficult.
“I wouldn’t want to risk the possibility of any of these kids losing their eligibility for school sports,” Goudy told the Tampa Bay Times. “The big determining factor would be what Florida would allow us to do because a lot of the teams, obviously, will be from Florida, and we’d check some of those contiguous states like Georgia and South Carolina, and some of them to see what their rules entail.”
Assuming the tournament goes ahead as planned next month, anyone who enters the convention center in Orlando will have to have their temperature taken, and teams will be given staggered arrival times.
International teams were not allowed to compete this year. Exceptions were made for teams from Puerto Rico, although Goudy, who splits time between Florida and Ohio, estimated not as many teams from outside the state wanted to join this year because of travel concerns.