Publish date: Sep 20, 2013
Division III Championships Committee updates
By Brian Burnsed
Highlights from the Division III Championships Committee meeting on Sept. 9-10:
- The Division III Baseball Committee requested that out-of-conference strength of schedule be used as a primary criterion for championship selections. This stands to benefit teams that have a poor overall strength of schedule because they play in a weaker region, a problem that is poised to be exacerbated by the new requirement that teams play 70 percent of their games in-region.
Rather than simply approve the recommendation for baseball, the Championships Committee felt the idea was applicable to all sports. The Committee moved that out-of-conference strength of schedule be considered as a primary criterion for championship selection across all Division III sports effective Aug. 1, 2014. The change will require approval from the Division III Management Council.
- The Committee took no action on a proposal from the Division III Men’s and Women’s Track and Field Committee that recommended Divisions I, II and III hold a combined cross country championship in 2015. Committee members worried about several unresolved concerns, for example, that the conditions created by running six races, consecutively, on the same course would be less than ideal. Committee members suggested that the respective track and field committees move forward and try to find suitable sites and establish a championship schedule to allay concerns; the Committee will revisit the topic in the future.
- The Committee agreed to recommend several policies concerning calculation of the in-region competition requirement after reviewing recent survey responses from Division III conference commissioners. Though analysis showed that almost all Division III teams participating in NCAA championships were already meeting the increased threshold of 70 percent for team sports (50 percent for tennis and rowing; 25 percent for golf), the committee recognized that institutions need guidance on scheduling to comply with the new standards. The committee proposed the following, effective with the 2014-15 year: 1) post-season conference competition may not be counted toward meeting the in-region competition requirement; 2) for sports with Spring NCAA championships, institutions may exempt out-of-region contests conducted during one institutional vacation period (e.g. Spring Break); and 3) institutions in years 1 and 2 of the provisional or reclassifying into Division III process shall count as in-region opponents as defined by the various in-region definitions. The changes will require approval from the Division III Management Council.
- The Committee approved a recommendation by the Division III Softball Committee, subject to approval from the Division III Management Council, which would create pairings for super regionals and the finals after the end of the regional tournaments instead of immediately after team selections. Results from regional play would be included in the comparisons of the 16 advancing teams to rank them 1 to 16. Pairings would then be adjusted as necessary to comply with Division III bracketing principles, specifically to minimize the number of flights.
- The Committee approved a recommendation by the Division III Men’s Golf Committee that would expand the minimum course length for tournaments that count toward championship selection for the first time in more than 10 years, effective immediately. Par 70 courses must now be 6,100 yards; par 71 courses must be 6,300 yards and par 72 courses must be 6,500 yards.