By Greg Johnson
The NCAA Division I Championships/Sports Management Cabinet during its conference call on June 24 approved selection criteria changes for the Division I Wrestling Championships.
The changes require a wrestler to compete in at least eight matches in the weight class in which the wrestler plans to compete. They also set the pre-allocation number per weight class at 29, meaning that four of the 33 spots available in each class are reserved for at-large selections.
Wrestlers must meet or exceed two of the criteria to reach the “bronze standard,” which is the level at which wrestlers become eligible for at-large selection to the championships field. Previously, wrestlers had to meet only one of the following criteria to be eligible for at-large selection:
Additionally, a wrestler must have participated in his respective conference or regional qualifying tournament to be considered for an at-large selection to the championships.
All of the changes are effective for the 2011-12 season.
Cabinet members supported the minimum of eight matches to maintain a competitive balance and help the Division I Wrestling Committee manage at-large selections. They also believe it helps strengthen the weight-management plan for the sport, ensuring that student-athletes compete regularly at the desired competition weight class rather than wrestle in multiple classes.
By fixing the number of pre-allocated positions per weight class at 29, the cabinet feels that student-athlete performance during the regular season will be the driving factor in the wrestler’s selection to the national championships.
Cabinet members also approved a standardized date formula for the Women’s College Cup to ensure that the women’s finals will always be the weekend before the men’s.
The cabinet approved a “standardization of date formula” that puts the Women’s College Cup on the first full weekend in December – Friday to Sunday – even if Dec. 1 should fall on a Saturday, as it does in 2012.
Beginning in 2012, then, the Women’s College Cup will take place the first weekend in December. In years where December 1 falls on Saturday, it will count as the first weekend of the month with competition taking place on Friday and Sunday. The 2012 dates for the semifinals and finals of the Women’s College Cup are November 30 and December 2.
Cabinet members also approved a 1-2-1-2 format for the 2011 women’s championship. The first weekend of the tournament will consist of first-round matches at 32 sites. The second and third rounds will be held the next weekend, with four teams competing at eight sites. Quarterfinal matches will be at four sites over Thanksgiving weekend, followed by the semifinals and finals on the Friday and Sunday of the next weekend.
Cabinet members defeated a proposal from the Division I Men’s Soccer Committee that would have waived the requirement that officials work at least six Division I men’s soccer matches to be considered for postseason assignments.
The cabinet expressed concern that the recommendation did not contain an overall requirement for officiating Division I games (men or women) and that, absent such a requirement, consideration of professional soccer events worked could adversely affect development of men’s collegiate soccer officials.