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Strategic-Positioning Outcome Area No. 4

Game Day and Championships

The Vision:

Provide outstanding Division II game day experiences at the local, conference and national levels; and create fair and equitable regional and national competition through consistent selection criteria and appropriate access.

The Goals:

  • Ensure game environments and experiences that are competitive, safe, fun, positive, respectful and entertaining.
  • Promote and honor exceptional efforts to provide quality competitive experiences.
  • Strengthen partnerships and relationships with host communities, schools, coaches associations, media and sponsors at the local, regional and national levels.
  • Enhance and increase the use of technology, tools and services to improve the effectiveness and efficiencies of game day, conference and national championships operations.
  • Provide opportunities to develop, establish and improve standards in officiating, and increase the pool of qualified officials.
  • Develop and implement consistent selection criteria that reflect Division II priorities.
  • Prioritize championships resources and policies to ensure the best quality of competition for Division II student-athletes.

Committees/groups charged with oversight in these areas:

  • Division II Championships Committee
  • Division II Athletics Directors Association
  • Division II Conference Commissioners Association

Initiatives COMPLETED since the adoption of the plan in April 2015 that support these goals:

Automatic Qualification Legislation

Goal(s) to which the initiative pertains: Prioritize championships resources and policies to ensure the best quality of competition for Division II student-athletes.
Brief description of the initiative: Amend NCAA Bylaw 31.3.4 as follows: (1) Eliminate the requirement that a championship bracket must have 48 or more teams in order for automatic qualification to be considered in a sport; (2) Specify that institutions that are affiliate members of a conference in a particular sport may be used to satisfy the sponsorship requirements for automatic qualification in that sport; and (3) Eliminate the requirement that in championship sports in which automatic qualification is offered, the sport committee must reserve at least 50 percent of the championship field for at-large teams.
Group(s) primarily responsible for implementation: The Division II Championships Committee.
Status/metrics for success: COMPLETE. The Division II membership overwhelmingly adopted the legislation at the 2016 Convention.

Transparency of Selection Criteria

Goal(s) to which the initiative pertains: Develop and implement consistent selection criteria that reflect Division II priorities.
Brief description of the initiative: Allow Division II sport committees to publish all data used in ranking teams during the season (up to eight criteria; all teams are listed in alphabetical order, by region).
Group(s) primarily responsible for implementation: The Division II Championships Committee.
Status/metrics for success: COMPLETE. The Division II Management Council approved the initiative at its July 2015 meeting. Feedback from the selection process for fall and winter sports in 2015-16 has been favorable.

Combined Women’s Basketball Championships

Goal(s) to which the initiative pertains: Prioritize championships resources and policies to ensure the best quality of competition for Division II student-athletes.
Brief description of the initiative: The NCAA celebrated the 2015-16 women’s basketball season – the 35th in which the NCAA has sponsored national championships in the sport – by staging the Division II and Division III national championship games in conjunction with the Division I Women’s Final Four in Indianapolis.
Group(s) primarily responsible for implementation: The Division II Championships Committee.
Status/metrics for success: COMPLETE. The event was administered successfully during the Women’s Final Four weekend April 3-5 in Indianapolis. Feedback has been so positive that the Championships Committee is exploring whether this can be done again in the near future.

Promotion Through Digital Platforms

Goal(s) to which the initiative pertains: Enhance and increase the use of technology, tools and services to improve the effectiveness and efficiencies of game day, conference and national championships operations.
Brief description of the initiative: Division II launched a “hybrid model” media that combines the value and reach of traditional over-the-air cable and network programming with other digital platforms.
Group(s) primarily responsible for implementation: The Division II Management Council (Identity Subcommittee).
Status/metrics for success: COMPLETE. The new agreement protects the national television presence Division II has become accustomed to for its football and basketball championships but essentially triples the exposure during the regular season in those and other sports. Division II also launched an online site dedicated solely to Division II sports (NCAA.com/D2).

Initiatives LAUNCHED and still being implemented since the adoption of the plan:

Review of Regionalization

Goal(s) to which the initiative pertains: Enhance and increase the use of technology, tools and services to improve the effectiveness and efficiencies of game day, conference and national championships operations.
Brief description of the initiative: The Division II Championships Committee is taking a comprehensive look at the division’s policy on regionalization, which for the past eight years has been a cornerstone of the Division II championship model. The 2013 membership census confirmed that regionalization is still considered the best model for Division II. However, since regionalization was established, schools have joined the division, left the division, switched conferences and otherwise altered the regional alignments.
Group(s) primarily responsible for implementation: The Division II Championships Committee.
Status/metrics for success: A 15-member working group has been appointed and will begin deliberations at the 2017 NCAA Convention in order to propose recommendations by the spring of 2017.

Coaches Connection Expansion

Goal(s) to which the initiative pertains: Enhance coaches’ engagement and fortify their role as advocates for the value of Division II athletics.
Brief description of the initiative: The existing program has created a successful collaboration between coaches and governance in football, women’s volleyball, soccer and tennis; so  much so in fact that the goal is to expand the program to all sports.
Group(s) primarily responsible for implementation: Several governance committees along with NCAA staff.
Status/metrics for success: The initiative was among 10 to receive funding from the Foundation for the Future program. Baseball, track and wrestling are the sports first in line for the immediate future.

Transportation for Community Engagement

Goal(s) to which the initiative pertains: Strengthen partnerships and relationships with host communities, schools, coaches associations, media and sponsors at the local, regional and national levels.
Brief description of the initiative: The division will begin providing bus transportation to Division II championships for community members who participate in community engagement events.
Group(s) primarily responsible for implementation: NCAA staff.
Status/metrics for success: This program is one of 10 being funded through the Foundation for the Future initiative. The program should be well received, as more community members will be able to attend championship events more easily.

EXISTING INITIATIVES implemented before the adoption of the plan that continue to support the goals in SPO No. 4:

Division II National Championships Festivals

The division conducted its ninth National Championships Festival (the fourth for spring sports) in Denver May 16-21, 2016, hosted by Metropolitan State University of Denver and the Denver Sports Commission, and will conduct the 10th in March 2017 in Birmingham for winter sports (wrestling, men’s and women’s swimming and diving, and men’s and women’s indoor track and field). Division II continues as the only division to conduct the Olympic-style events in which multiple champions are crowned at a single locale on the same day.

Commitment to Sportsmanship

All Division II institutions are required to complete, sign and submit a Championships Code of Conduct Policy to help ensure sportsmanship and fair play. Division II is a leader in promoting game environments that are entertaining, civil and family friendly.

Division II Award of Excellence

Division II annually presents an Award of Excellence for an activity or event that exemplifies excellence in any of the areas covered by the six attributes of Division II – learning, service, balance, passion, sportsmanship and resourcefulness. Lindenwood University won the inaugural award in 2014, Bellarmine University was recognized in 2015, and Lee University in 2016. Another recipient will be announced at the 2017 NCAA Convention.