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DI Competition Oversight Committee sets finance subcommittee strategies

Group also refers proposed super regional change to DI Softball Committee

The financial health and quality of the championships experience for student-athletes are two areas the new Division I Competition Oversight Committee wants to focus on in the months ahead.

During its meeting this week in Indianapolis, the committee charged its finance subcommittee with reviewing resource allocation and management in areas that impact the student-athlete experience and long-term financial sustainability in the championships program.

Committee members Monday and Tuesday discussed areas that the financial subcommittee should consider during its review, including concerns on campus about championships travel, and areas for improvement identified by NCAA staff.  The subcommittee will ask conferences, student-athletes, coaches, administrators and sport committees for feedback.

“We want to know the priorities and expectations from those groups,” said Mitch Barnhart, the chair of the committee and director of athletics at the University of Kentucky. “We have a lot of bright people in the room and have the opportunity to shape what the Division I championships will look like in the next 10-15 years. We will start to get some best practices together from the information gathered from those different constituencies. The financial viability in a changing world is a top priority.”

After gathering feedback over the next few months, the Division I Competition Oversight Committee is scheduled to meet Feb. 8-9 in Indianapolis, and the financial subcommittee should be able to start developing its strategies to address its charge.

The committee also referred back to the Division I Softball Committee a proposal to expand the super regional format from two to three days.

Currently, softball super regionals are a two-day, best-of-three-games format. Game one is played on day one, and games two and three (if necessary) are played on day two. The super regional winners advance to the Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City.

Regarding the “if necessary” third game, the Division I Softball Committee believes that contesting a game of this significance 45 minutes after the completion of game two does not provide a good championship experience. Student-athletes are not fresh and at their best under those circumstances, the committee felt.

If the change is made, the annual budget impact could be as high as $118,240. This includes $7,280 in per diem and $7,500 in operational costs for a total of $14,780 per site. Over the past five years, the average number of “if necessary” games per year was 3.2; so the committee identified an annual cost of approximately $50,000 as more realistic.

Other items discussed by the Division I Competition Oversight Committee included:

  • Reviewing sports committees to see if any modifications should be made in the future;
  • Supporting a proposal to reduce the Division I Women’s Gymnastics Championships from a three-day event to a two-day event. The championships event is the only time gymnasts are asked to compete on three consecutive days and the change will reduce missed class time.