Athletes Unlimited volleyball is heading on tour.
The league announced Tuesday that it will go on a spring exhibition tour, with a roster of 15 players visiting the top eight college programs in the country. Of those eight, six are among the top 15 ranked schools in the current NCAA rankings.
“Volleyball is clearly gaining in popularity, both in terms of participation as well as fan interest at all levels. As the only professional league in the United States, we’re excited to expand Athletes Unlimited Volleyball to give more people access to the highest level of the game,” said Cassidy Lichtman, the director of sport for Athletes Unlimited volleyball.
Schools featured on the tour are Louisville, Ohio State, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Texas, Baylor, Howard and Penn State.
The player roster includes one Olympian, five national champions and eight All-Americans. Molly McCage (Penn State), Deja McClendon (Penn State), Alisha Childress (Penn State), Erin Fairs (Louisville), Sydney Hilley (Wisconsin) and Taylor Reid (Minnesota) will all get the opportunity to return to and play against their college programs.
Additionally, AU will visit two of the largest youth tournaments in the United States to play exhibition games.
Athletes Unlimited also announced its third championship season for volleyball, which will take place in October and November. This year’s season will air on ESPN and ESPN+ as part of a new partnership deal that expands upon their relationship with ESPN, which includes softball and lacrosse.
“It’s amazing to see industry leaders like ESPN recognize the value of the sport and invest in its future,” Lichtman said. “The Exhibition Tour is a great opportunity to reach the many volleyball fans across the country at the collegiate and youth levels and it will be really special for our athletes to go back to the places and programs that set them on the path to their professional careers.”