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By Gary Brown
Springfield College has been selected to host the inaugural Division III Men’s Volleyball Championship in 2012, and Stevens Institute of Technology will host the championship in 2013.
The Division III Championships Committee approved the recommendations from the Division III Men’s Volleyball Committee.
The 2012 finals will be April 27-29 at Springfield’s Blake Arena. The 2013 finals are April 26-28 at Canavan Arena in Hoboken, New Jersey, on the campus of Stevens Institute of Technology.
Both Springfield and Stevens Institute have hosted the Molten Championship three times since that tournament was formed in 1997 to give Division III men’s volleyball sponsors a postseason experience. Host Nazareth won this year’s Molten final in four sets over top-seeded Springfield.
Division III formally adopted the NCAA men’s volleyball championship as the Association’s 89th championship at the 2011 Convention. The NCAA has sponsored a National Collegiate Men’s Volleyball Championship (all divisions) since 1970, but sponsorship of men’s volleyball in Division III recently eclipsed the 50 institutions required for a single division to conduct its own championship.
It was originally speculated that the Division III championship would encompass an eight-team tournament at a single site conducted over the third weekend in April. But since the championship was adopted, several Division III schools have indicated interest in adding men’s volleyball, which would increase the bracket size and require the championship to be played over two weekends instead of one.
The bracket size won’t officially be determined until sport-sponsorship numbers are known this fall. The Division III Championships Committee approved conducting the finals of the new championship over the final weekend of April beginning in 2012, anticipating that a preliminary round would be conducted over the third weekend in April.
The Championships Committee also agreed that the new championship warrants flexibility regarding the two-year waiting period for conferences to be eligible for an AQ. That means for the first two years of the championship, the committee will waive (1) the requirement that a conference exist for two years before receiving an AQ and (2) the two-year waiting period for established conferences that may not have satisfied the two-year competition and continuity requirements (that is, the same seven institutions playing volleyball together for two years).
Established conferences that either satisfy the existing AQ requirements or satisfy all of the AQ requirements except for the two-year waiting period should submit the AQ form online by May 1 to receive an AQ for the 2012 championship.
New single-sport conferences also were eligible to receive an AQ for the 2012 championship as long as they applied by Feb. 28.
This same flexibility regarding the two-year waiting period would apply again for the 2013 championship. For example, if institutions were unable to submit an application for a single-sport conference by Feb. 28, 2011, they could submit a single-sport conference application next year and receive an AQ for the 2013 championship without completing the two-year waiting period. (The deadline for that application is Jan. 15, 2012.)