Committees kick around regional alignment
The Division III Men’s and Women’s Soccer Committee spent most of their meetings in Dallas last week talking about realignment in an effort to balance regions by gender.
Presently, Division III men’s soccer is divided into eight regions, while the women’s game is separated into seven. The proposal for the Division III Championships Committee to consider adds an eighth region for the women, with the redistribution creating groupings more alike in size.
Because of the large number of Division III programs in New England, realignment would focus heavily on the other regions in the country. Ideally, regions would contain between 38-55 schools. The West region for women’s soccer now has 19 programs and would likely incorporate schools from Texas – specifically those in the American Southwest Conference and Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference.
The committees also discussed selection criteria during their three-day meeting and will forward a recommendation that would emphasize road matches. In the past, there had been a quality-of-wins index that did account for success on the road, and this proposal would provide the committee with more data for selections.
Additionally, the committees proposed that student-athletes in the championship travel party would be permitted to dress during competition, even if they weren’t among the 22 team members designated on the squad list. At this point, 27 individuals can be included in the championship travel party and 30 are allowed on the bench, but only those on the squad list can dress and warm up before competition. This provision would allow all members of the team (to the maximum of 30 individuals in the bench area) to dress and warm up.
For 2008, three women’s teams and six men’s teams will receive byes to the second round of the NCAA tournament. Six women’s teams and 12 men’s teams participate in opening-round games on Wednesday, hoping to earn an opportunity to face the teams that receive byes in the second round on Saturday. In Dallas, the committees proposed that those initial games should be played on Thursday and the second-round competition should commence on Sunday. The committees believe that this change will result in less missed class time for participating teams. The schools with no-competition policies on Sunday would continue to compete on a Wednesday/Saturday schedule.
For the past four years, the women’s semifinal and final games have been played before the men’s competitions. In 2008, the men will play their Friday semifinals in the afternoon while the women will play at night. On Saturday, the men’s final will be played at 1 p.m. and the women will play at 5 p.m. From this point on, the men and women will enter a rotation that will determine which championship will be played first.
Both committees will bid farewell to their chairs, as Jeff Parker (Stevens Institute of Technology) will rotate off the women’s committee and Gerry DiBartolo (Salisbury) will leave the men’s committee. Heather Benning (Grinnell) will be the new women’s chair and Joe Hakes (Gordon) will chair the men’s committee.
© 2010 The National Collegiate Athletic Association