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DIII committee considers championships changes

Lacrosse, rowing, golf, baseball among sports discussed

The Division III Championships Committee met Sept. 7-9 in Indianapolis. Highlights from the meeting included:

  • The championships committee rejected a proposal from the Division III Women’s Golf Committee, which had recommended the championships expand from 21 to 23 teams in 2015. The championships committee rejected that proposal because women’s golf already has a waiver in place through 2015 that allows greater access to the championships. The waiver’s intent is to help grow the sport by providing more teams the opportunity to compete in the championships.
  • The championships committee supported legislation decreasing the maximum number of contests and dates of competition across multiple sports by up to 10 percent. Legislation sponsored by the Old Dominion Athletic Conference, Centennial Conference, Midwest Conference and the Division III Presidents Council calling for those reductions is already slated to be on the 2015 NCAA Convention floor, but the championships committee wanted to formally voice support for the reductions, which affect every Division III sport except football and cross country.
  • The championships committee endorsed a recommendation, supported by the women’s rowing committees from all three divisions, that three additional officials be added to the championship officiating crew. Extra officials were requested after a spike in the number of protests in 2014 and related meet management concerns. The cost of the new officials will be split among all three divisions; Division III’s share is $1,320 and will be absorbed within the existing rowing budget, which has been under budget in recent years. The Division III Management Council will review this recommendation at its fall meeting.
  • The championships committee endorsed a proposal from the Division III Baseball Committee that would alter baseball’s championship bracket format. The new format calls for two, four-team double-elimination brackets. The winner of each bracket will play a best-of-three series to determine the champion. This change will be effective Sept. 1.
  • To accommodate growing rosters at their championships, the Division III Men’s Lacrosse Committee recommended increasing its bench size, and the Division III Women’s Lacrosse Committee recommended increasing its squad size. Men’s lacrosse requested an increase from 42 to 48 athletes, coaches and medical personnel on the bench. Women’s lacrosse asked for squad size to jump from 28 to 30. The championships committee rejected both recommendations. Several members worried that allowing lacrosse to expand would set a precedent, opening the door for other sports to make similar, potentially unnecessary, requests on the heels of squad size expansions in several sports that took effect in 2012-13.
  • The first half of the three-day meeting was held in conjunction with the chairs of the division’s many sport committees. Topics broached included Division III budget overages and potential savings initiatives; sport committee reports; and regional ranking best practices, among others.