D III Women's Volleyball

A source for NCAA Division III women's volleyball info and opinion, with a focus on the Midwest and Central regions

Primary criteria changes approved

A major change to the primary selection criteria has been approved by the NCAA Management Council, a source said today.

Beginning with the 2013-14 season, all matches between NCAA Division III opponents will count in the primary selection criteria. The catch is that teams must play 70 percent of all competition against in-region D-III opponents.

Currently, only in-region contests are considered in the primary selection criteria. Non-D-III competition will still be considered in the secondary criteria.

Like all rule changes, there are perceived positives and negatives to the primary criteria change.

The positive is that the sometimes arcane and arbitrary borders for what constitutes an in-region match will fade away. That is until teams reach the threshold of 70 percent in-region contests.

One example of many: it was confounding to some that a natural rivalry match between Wheaton (Ill.) and Calvin (Mich.) wasn’t considered an in-region contest. But Wheaton could play an in-region match at Pacific Lutheran (Wash.), and Calvin could play an in-region match at Emory (Ga.). Beginning in 2013-14, UMass Boston can play a tournament in California and all of the matches will count equally on its resume (as long as it maintains at least a 70:30 split between in-region and out-of-region play).

A perceived negative is that the better-funded programs will have an edge. But the 70 percent in-region requirement should help curb that advantage. Juniata has one of the best schedules, which includes top teams from around the country either at home or on the road. This nonconference season Juniata will play, among others, Wittenberg, Christopher Newport, Washington-St. Louis, Cal Lutheran, Emory, Eastern and Heidelberg. Juniata is just an example. Many of the top programs have loaded schedules.

Are the rich not getting richer with this rule change? Not so much. Even when factoring in the postseason Landmark Conference contests that would count as in-region matches, Juniata’s 2012 posted online schedule of 33 matches would not conform to the 70 percent in-region requirement. In fact, Juniata will have to drastically change its current schedule to approach the 70 percent in-region requirement. By my count 17 of Juniata’s 33 scheduled regular season matches will be out-of-region this season.

Regional realignment talks are ongoing among the sport committees. But as regionally structured today, the 70 percent in-region requirement will affect the top programs. If anything, 70 percent may prove to be a high number.

-Ricky Nelson

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Written by Ricky Nelson

August 16, 2012 at 6:19 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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