AAU Is Hosting 17,000-Strong Volleyball Tournament in Litmus Test for Sports

This week the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida is playing host to the AAU 2020 Junior National Volleyball Championships. The tournament is expected to host roughly 17,000 athletes and staff throughout the various age groups and genders. Competition begins July 15th, with games wrapping up on the 22nd. This tournament is by far the largest sporting event to take place since the beginning of quarantine in March.

Lee Feinswog, the co-publisher and editor for VolleyballMag.com told Swimswam:

“AAU nationals could be the litmus test for the volleyball world. If things go well and three weeks later all the teams are healthy and coronavirus-free, it would be a tremendous success. But if not? Yikes.

The fact that it’s in Florida, which is trending in the wrong direction in a big way, is pretty scary. Personally I wouldn’t go, nor would I bring a team or my own kids. But I hope it turns out well for everyone in our sport.”

This is actually a scaled-back version of the tournament reducing the normal 3,000 teams to about 500. The event is still expected to have a $15 million economic impact on the region. Orange County and the state of Florida combined have committed $150,000 toward the event’s organization, according to The Orlando Sentinel.

This tournament comes as many colleges across the country are moving to cancel fall athletic competitions. Conferences such as the Pac-12 and Big-10 have already shifted fall sports to conference only competition. Joining them in altering fall sports, Kenyon College, along with the Centennial and PSAC conferences have canceled all athletics for the fall.

Last month USA Swimming announced that they would begin allowing sanctioned competitions to begin during July, albeit under certain restrictions. While teams are allowed to begin competition this month, they are limited to competing only against teams within their LSC. Furthermore, any time that is swum cannot be used for qualification for any meet above the LSC level.

Other sporting events and leagues have begun nearing the resumption of competition, including the NBA nearby at Disney and MLB. Unlike these professional leagues, however, the AAU’s tournament exists on a much larger scale with fewer resources available.

For the NBA, resuming competition required athletes from 22 teams to travel to Florida where they are living in a hotel with no outside contact. Athletes are required to pass daily COVID-19 tests in order to remain with the team. The MLB is requiring athletes to pass COVID-19 tests every other day, while staff members are required to pass multiple tests a week.

While the tournament will have large numbers of participants, rules were put in place to limit the number of people in the facility, as well as to protect those who are there. Each team is limited to 15 athletes, 5 bench personnel, and 10 chaperones. As well as the limited number of people allowed with each team, the tournament will only provide one referee for each match, with the teams expected to provide a second one. The tournament also won’t be allowing international teams to participate.

The AAU will also be attempting to limit the interaction between players and minimizing the time spent with athletes not wearing a mask. Athletes will be required to enter on one side of the facility and exit on the other to maximize social distancing. The facility will also not provide any water, requiring each athlete to bring their own if they wish.

The convention center reduced the rental fee by over 90 percent, or over $1 million, in order to ensure that the tournament is able to take place. The county was placed under pressure from community business owners, whose income is largely based on large gatherings at locations such as the convention center, to resume encouraging tourism to the area.

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Ol' Longhorn

Just keep them all in Florida for a few weeks after they’re done.



Despise the Media

Ok’ Longhorn’s new nickname!

Ol' Longhorn

Dude, if you’re going to troll someone, at least get their frickin name right.

Despise the Media

@Ol’: Twas the dang autocorrect, pardner!


I mean, 17,000 people in a small area is pretty concerning right? Regardless of whether you think the kids will be safe or not, the obvious is 17,000 people from all over the country closing on one place and then going back home has all the potential to spread.

Again, unless you believe the virus just doesn’t exist. I can’t really put a finger on what you believe. Is the virus completely fake or are you just more interested in conspiracies? If you think the virus is real, you can’t honestly believe this is a good idea.


I haven’t seen their plans for doing it. I highly doubt there will be 17,000 people in one location at the exact same time. I want to see how they do it rather than judging. Too much shaming going on. I’d like to have faith they have a solid plan in place and will make it work. I also know that people who are vulnerable shouldn’t attend (or those that live with someone vulnerable.)


That’s fair. I just think it’s obvious what the goal is here, as stated in the article. There’s way too much money involved to not have the tournament. Safety is secondary.

Bringing 17,000 additional people to any town and then having them depart back home shortly there after is risky.


Safety is secondary… we don’t know that. On everything else we agree.

Ol' Longhorn

How bout a solid plan of contact tracing after the dispersal on planes to all over the country. Brilliant idea.


Actually, the facility is pretty large. Ironically, I attended a large trade show there in early February with over 50k in attendance, with perhaps 10k from Asia. Lots of hand sanitizer, but no masks at that point. I assume, they will be very well organized to minimize the risk this time around.


If you look up the number of teams in the event which is readily available on the au websites are 276 teams my daughter has competed in the AAU national tournament every year for five or six years there’s rarely more than 10 or 11 girls on the team so that’s 2,700 plus another 10 chaperones read aloud with no spectators that’s another 2700 and they’re allowing three coaches so I’m getting a numbercloser to 6 to 7000. And small area have you ever been to the Orange county convention center it’s enormous so 7,000 people will be like putting 20 people in a church


We just went today for the 1st day of my daughter’s tournament. Now, I’m still a mom that is having groceries delivered. Every person is in a mask at all times except for the kids on the court. (If a kid is on the sideline, they are masked) All the courts are being sanitized. The ball is sanitized between matches. Teams stay on their side, no switching. Seats for chaperones are all 6 ft apart. There is 100 feet (maybe more) between courts. Is it perfect, no. If aerosolized, we’re screwed. While we are putting ourselves at risk, I feel safer in there than the one time I ate inside a restaurant. Now numbers…17,000 over 8 days (2 championships runs,… Read more »

Ol' Longhorn

How’s that hydroxychloroquine “cure,” as you called it, working out? Three negative clinical trials, with worse outcomes inpatients in the largest, and a new FDA warning against using it? You laughed off 130,000 dead by August. You said Sweden was the way to go when they admitted they failed. What does Q have to say about it?


You actually aren’t that bright.
HCQ works and Sweden never admitted to failure. Although your liberal media twisted their words.
I don’t need Q or anyone else to show me all the lies that the media (who’s altar you worship at) lies.

Average age of Covid deaths in Sweden: 86. News flash: that’s when lots of people die.

So I’ll ask again, why do you hate data?

NM Coach

EVERYONE WILL DIE!!! I can’t believe the AAU wants people to die!


This is the only real study (randomized) ever done on HCQ (results publlished this week). Read it. Everything else is garbage and not scientific. Verdict: the data convincingly rule out any meaningful mortality benefit of hydroxychloroquine in patients hospitalised with COVID-19.


Ol' Longhorn

And on top of it, inpatients on HCQ did worse.



Sweden (no lockdown): 5,562 dead
Czech Republic (lockdown): 355 dead
Same population. Same comparison holds against Denmark, Finland, etc. Same economic results (slowdowns). 5000 extra dead for no benefits (economic) that you conservative prefer so much more over people.

Here is link for an article “where their epidemiologist who led Sweden’s controversial COVID-19 response, which did not involve a strict lockdown, now says that the country should have done more to stop the spread of the virus”



Again, minimal society interruption, way less economic impact, average age of death: 86. Over 3/4 of deaths in state sponsored LTC homes. Now do New York.

What crazy utopia do you live in that nobody can die ever? Your side only wants negativity, never solutions.

Let the kids swim, sit yours out if you’re not comfortable. While I disagree with your political beliefs, you have the right to have them.

It seems you don’t respect those on the other side even though on twitter you fancy yourself as some kind of tolerant liberal. Best of luck psychodad. The world needs to move on. Let’s see how the tournament goes.


Ok’ Longhorn sounds like a very sad person. Chew on this one too you fool: https://www.henryford.com/news/2020/07/hydro-treatment-study


If you wrestled with bedpans all day you would be disgruntled too.

Ol' Longhorn

You mean the single institution, retrospective study published in a journal with an impact factor of — WOW — 3.2?

Please and thank you

Hey Mel! The comments section on swim swam does not have to be like this. I’d love a demographics breakdown. I hypothesize all the off-topic comments really hurt actual swim discourse.


I agree. The moment all the people stop trying to cancel practices and competitions and life in general we can get back to important topics. Until then, Karen education is essential. And let’s face it, Mel loves this stuff. He’s getting so many clicks!!

Please and thank you

So many clicks from the 4 people that fight the same fight about statistics and science over and over? Perhaps. I’d argue it’s a turn off to a lot of other voices. You likely right, but the question is worth asking.

Justin Thompson

It’s probably good for traffic and seems to encourage a conversation. You can’t always silence those you don’t agree with.

Please and thank you

Well, the site could certainly block posts that have nothing to do with the original post. Lots of sites do it, and I find it a more pleasant reading experience. And I sure don’t agree that 4 guys yelling at each other over science on a swimming site is encouraging a conversation.


The dispute actually isn’t about science at all …. if we were actually looking at science the debate would be far different. The debate is about this questionable “new normal”
We are being asked to accept.


Not enough of a safe space I guess.

Please and Thank you

You guys are great at proving my point. High fives all around!

NC Swim Fan

OMG! Glad some other sport is the guinea pig and that we aren’t a volleyball family!


This seems like a questionable decision


You think?


I’m opposed to all death. But with that being said, corona deaths are down 20% yesterday and today from the week before. The media has done a great job of spreading fear porn and ridiculousness. According to them, the facts don’t matter. Kids should be back in school, they should be playing sports and attending events. According to the CDC, this year, only 30 kids under the age of 15 have died with the corona virus. It sucks and I wish it didn’t happen. 190 kids under 15 died of the flu, so kids under 15 are six times as likely to die from the flu than the corona virus.During this period, 436 kids under the age of 15 died… Read more »

Ol' Longhorn

You do realize there are downsides aside from death —- morbidity, personal and public health cost, job loss, disease spread, shutting out elective procedures and routine preventative care — right?. And while you’re looking up those statistics, also try comparing apples to apples: no one shut down the country, restricted travel, mandatory masks, no visitors in hospitals, etc. during any flu season in recent memory. But I’m sure none of that would have affected the flu fatality rate in your universe. And you do realize that death rates are lagging indicators from cases and hospitalizations, right?


And that long term permanent damage is being discovered even in asymptomatic cases


Source? That’s just not true.


I heard a new study concluded after the virus has been out for 7ish months that there are even long term effects suffered if you knew someone who had Covid-19 but never actually had it yourself.

Sid Frisco

I read on Facebook that 6’ and a face mask 60% of the time works every time.


Guerra, you really need to work in a hospital in Miami! Houston or Phoenix for a week and see if you still think the only people truly affected are those that die!

Ol' Longhorn

No sh*t.


Gurrra summed it up perfectly. Thank you.


yes, but i think on this site a few days ago there were posts about volleyball parents being more insane than swim parents. So really not surprising, but yes, questionable.


I’m a swim and a volleyball parent…I must be doubly-crazy!