The Division I Championships/Sports Management Cabinet has begun a review of playing-and-practice-season policies and championships regulations that may result in reduced operating costs.
Areas under review include foreign tours, adjustments in preseason schedules in various sports (for example, later reporting dates) and a continued emphasis on cost efficiencies in determining championship sites and brackets.
The cabinet expects to make recommendations in those and other areas at the group’s next meeting in February.
Division II is in the midst of a similar review that has resulted in four proposals to shorten seasons and reduce games.
While the Division I cabinet discussions along those lines are preliminary, members did receive positive financial news at their meeting last week in Indianapolis. They heard that postseason travel costs to Division I championships in 2008-09 decreased by $5.7 million (about 20 percent) compared to 2007-08.
Those savings can be attributed in part to an increase in the travel-policy mileage limitation from 350 to 400 miles (except for men’s and women’s basketball) adopted last year and an emphasis on geographical proximity in pairing teams in the championship brackets. The geographical-proximity policy cut about three dozen flights from the previous year.
Sand volleyball amendment
In other business, the cabinet reviewed proposed playing-and-practice-season parameters for sand volleyball. Cabinet members want to amend Proposal No. 2009-83 to limit the championship segment to eight weeks beginning with the first Thursday in March, and the number of contest dates to 18 (regardless of which segment those contests are played).
The addition of sand volleyball to the list of emerging sports for women remains in flux since an override request from the membership will be considered at the January Convention.
Cabinet members also approved a recommendation from the Women’s Rowing Committee to grant automatic qualification into the championship for six conferences starting in 2011.
The rowing committee believes automatic qualification is the natural next step for the sport, which began as a National Collegiate championship in 1997 before three division events were established in 2002. The 2009 Division I championship was the first time 16 full teams competed in the finals.
The cabinet also directed the rowing committee to develop a plan for providing automatic qualification if and when eligible conferences exceed 50 percent of the bracket.
The cabinet also considered, but did not support, a proposal from the Southeastern Conference to eliminate the outdoor track and field regionals by 2011.
The Division I Men’s and Women’s Track and Field Committee spent two years developing a two-regional format that will be used this spring. Most cabinet members want to see how effective that format is.
The SEC proposal, though, cites institutional costs as the primary reason for not having the regionals. The conference prefers a qualifying standard system to determine championship participants.
The cabinet also reviewed budget requests and prioritized preliminary recommendations for the biennial budget process at the September meeting.
Initiatives receiving the strongest support include video-replay capability in the Division I Men’s and Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships ($10,000), video-review equipment for the men’s and women’s indoor/outdoor track and field championships ($14,500) and reimbursing the hosts for the timing group of the outdoor track and field preliminary rounds ($45,000).
Cabinet members also approved an internal allocation of $101,634 to cover additional costs related to officiating for numerous championships.
The cabinet made these recommendations for the 2010-11 and 2011-12 academic years. The exact amount allocated will not be known until other Division I requests are considered.
The Division I Finance Committee will meet in the spring to finalize recommendations for the biennial budget, which then will be forwarded to the Division I Board of Directors and the NCAA Executive Committee.
© 2010 The National Collegiate Athletic Association