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

NCAA.org redesign reinstates valuable info

People spoke. The NCAA listened.

NCAA.org redesigned its site. Here is the D-III women’s volleyball section of the redesigned site. It now has the good stuff available to anyone who wants to read it instead of making the stuff available to anyone who wishes to read it and has an NCAA username and password.

Did you want to read the 2013 D-III women’s volleyball pre-championship manual? How about the D-III women’s volleyball annual meeting report from February 2013 that included talk of four sets of regional rankings, moving the SCAC to the West Region, and limiting the perceived advantages of the UAA? Have at it. Finally.

I and others scoffed at the NCAA’s decision a few years ago to hide these important documents behind a password-protected wall. My frustration with the password system reached new heights when student-athletes emailed me each season to ask what regional rankings were, how they worked, when they were published, etc. These women who devoted much of their time and energy to their sport didn’t know how the postseason worked. And it wasn’t their fault. The players were actively seeking information. That should be applauded, not made impossible due to red tape and credentials.

I answered the players’ questions the best I could all the while shaking my head that the NCAA wouldn’t make the information readily available to anyone who wished to read it.

Thankfully, I was given a PDF copies of D-III volleyball pre-championship manuals upon request. I had to get D-III baseball manuals from member schools because NCAA PR flacks refused to give me a copy. If the only weekly D-III baseball national columnist had trouble securing a copy, what chance does a shortstop in the Skyline Conference have?

Even when I pressed an NCAA public relations official on the baseball manual, the answer was a version of “The public does not need to read that.” The public does not need to read how the NCAA tournament field is selected? Interesting public relations indeed.

I could go on, but I’ve devoted enough interview questions and keystrokes to the matter over the years. I’m very happy that I don’t have to anymore. I hope.

Transparency is good. Thank you, NCAA. But it must be stated one last time that it was completely unnecessary to keep information seekers in the dark for years.

-Ricky Nelson


Written by Ricky Nelson

January 2, 2014 at 5:00 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

7 Responses

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  1. As always…thank you for this post.

    I find it interesting that regional hosts have to turn off archived video from regional tournaments (8g) but will have to overnight video from the championship game to the next opponent (11e). Am I confusing myself here? First off every regional tournament should be streaming their games (remember us fans)! Just leave the archive enabled and save on the postage here folks. I still go back and watch some footage from time-to-time.


    January 3, 2014 at 9:01 am

  2. The proposed SCAC move to the West Region is interesting. The 70% in-region rule only applies to DIII, right? This move wouldn’t force the SCAC to play more west coast teams, correct?

    If that is correct then I guess on the surface it really doesn’t matter. It sure would make it difficult for the West Regional ranking person to decide between teams that never play each other. I think it really would force more games between the SCAC and the west coast teams just for this purpose. Maybe add to the travel costs to the SCAC.

    Not sure how this would play out in the regional hosting. Bottom line, you’ll always have a number of Texas teams that can qualify for the NCAA tournament and if the goal is to reduce travel costs then you should always see a Texas regional (I know that won’t happen). Unless you want to ship 4 or 5 Texas teams to the west coast (which they didn’t want to do this year)

    Looking at the strength of the regions, moving Trinity and Southwestern from the South to the West (CC is already in the West) really makes this a much stronger region (TLU helps, too). When you factor in the lack of teams in the region and the corresponding lack of regionally ranked teams that have to be publicized, you will get teams making the NCAA that aren’t on the public list. That will make Ricky crazy! This year you had 5 of the 6 regional ranked teams in the West make the NCAA (I think). Add in Trinity and SU and Pomona and Puget Sound probably don’t make the public list. More surprises and less transparency!


    January 3, 2014 at 12:25 pm

  3. A move to the West Region would force all SCAC teams to play 70 percent of countable competition against the West. The SCAC play dates alone should get teams close to that requirement. If Trinity moved to the West, all matches against ASC teams would still be in-region. It wouldn’t force TU to play PLU or CLU any more than it does today because those are in-region matches for TU now and would be if TU moves. The only difference would be come regional rankings/selection time and which region of teams TU is compared.

    There would be at least one more ranked team in the West if the entire SCAC moved to that region. I don’t feel like doing math right now, but I don’t think an unranked team making the field as an at-large would be more likely if the SCAC moved.

    I’m all for spreading out the regional sponsorship numbers. I always thought the SCAC move made sense. Obviously it’s not that easy if it hasn’t been done already, but a 30-game schedule still allows for nine discretionary matches. That should be a nonfactor for Texas teams and CC. The NCAA’s definition of in-region matches could possibly, possibly put a bit of a strain on Centenary.

    One potential argument against is that the bulk of the SCAC is comprised of Texas teams. If the ASC is in the South, why not compare Texas teams to other Texas teams for purposes of selection? It works as words, but it’s not a great argument in my mind. The disparity in sponsorship numbers is the issue, not a theoretical Texas hierarchy. The push is toward aligning conferences in the same region, where applicable. I agree with that push and I think the SCAC qualifies as applicable. Besides, some states like Tennessee and Pennsylvania don’t have all of their institutions in the same volleyball region either for the very reason I think the SCAC (or the ASC for the sake of competitive fairness, but the SCAC makes more sense geographically because of CC) should move to the West.

    The West is a very good volleyball region as it stands. Adding another batch of upper-crust teams will make it tougher, but the regions have never been equal in talent and depth anyway. That isn’t changing anytime soon.

    -Ricky Nelson

    Ricky Nelson

    January 3, 2014 at 2:35 pm

  4. I could be wrong, but I assumed the change was to remove potential scouting advantages for teams that may have come from a regional in which the stream was not archived. Three consecutive archived regional matches should tell you everything about that team.

    -Ricky Nelson

    Ricky Nelson

    January 3, 2014 at 2:58 pm

  5. I sent you a link that seems to indicate that BOTH ASC and SCAC would move West. But, forgetting that for a second.

    I don’t understand your 70% logic. On one hand they have to play 70% against the West but if the ASC stayed in the South that would still count as a West team for TU? Is there some grandfather logic here or an exception for considering “local” teams as being in the same region even if you are not? In other words TU (West) plays UMHB (South), does this count as an in region game? Why is the logic different for Centenary? I guess I need to know the NCAA definition for “regional”.

    There were only 21 teams in the West last year. By the 15% rule they would have to double in size (actually more than double) before more than 6 teams were regionally ranked. Bringing in both the ASC and SCAC still wouldn’t bring them to a number where more than 6 teams are required to be regionally ranked.

    Back to that for a second, it makes much more sense to bring both ASC and SCAC to the west but this past year there were 10 teams that made the NCAA from the West, ASC and SCAC. Only 6 would be regionally ranked. Talk about not knowing where you stand on selection day!

    Oh – My point about the streaming of games in the regional is that one of the criteria of being allowed to host should be that you must stream all of the games. This gives back to the fans and removes the issue about sending DVDs.


    January 3, 2014 at 3:32 pm

  6. An in-region game isn’t the most intuitive thing.

    Here’s a breakdown.

    Both teams are full Division III members (or third- or fourth-year provisional members) and:

    1) are in the same Division III member conference or same region as defined by the appropriate Division III committee. That list of regions is what you probably know: West. South, Great Lakes, Central, etc.

    2) The teams are within 200 miles of each other via the NCAA’s TES mileage calculator.

    3) The teams are within the same NCAA administrative region, which very few people know.

    Region 1: Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Vermont.

    Region 2: New York, Pennsylvania.

    Region 3: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, North Carolina, Ohio, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia.

    Region 4: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming.

    If the teams are in the same region by any one of these three definitions, it is a regional game.

    In other words the NCAA created different ways to play in-region contests. Then again everyone has their favorite quirk. Mine is that Wheaton (Ill.) and Calvin are peers and logical rivals in most ways. But because of the somewhat arbitrary in-region distinctions, any contest between WC and CC is not in-region. But a match between UW-Whitewater and Cal Lutheran or Centenary (La.) and Christopher Newport is in-region.

    Many have made suggestions to improve D-III in-region distinctions. Few changes have been made, but it’s almost always being work-shopped.

    You’re right about the West and 15 percent. I should have done some math :)

    The NCAA’s point, if I read it correctly, is please do stream. That’s an order. Just don’t archive it on the regional site for opponents to scout. Off the top of my head, I can remember at least one host that archived matches in the past via the UStream platform.

    -Ricky Nelson

    Ricky Nelson

    January 3, 2014 at 3:54 pm

  7. Wow!!!! Thanks for that. Very muddled but extremely interesting!

    Looking back at Centenary’s schedule they seem to play teams close to home and would have no problems with the 70% rule. If the ASC did stay in the South and Centenary started to travel more then they would probably need to get a waiver.



    January 3, 2014 at 4:07 pm

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