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

2014 meeting report highlights

The D-III women’s volleyball committee met in late January. The report of those meetings was released today. Here are the highlights.

• There were 43 Pool A bids, 2 Pool B bids, 19 Pool C bids in 2013. The NCAA anticipates the breakdown will be 44-0-20 in 2014 because the Southern Athletic Association gains its Pool A. The committee report says there will be seven Pool B teams in 2014. I have not checked thoroughly, but seven appears to be the correct number. There would have to be approximately nine Pool B teams in order to necessitate one Pool B bid next year. My rough math projects 414 Pool A teams and 44 Pool A conferences in 2014 (414/44 = 9.409).

• The committee would like to publish four weekly regional rankings instead of the current three. Alas the final set of rankings (those used for selection purposes) would still go unpublished under this proposal. Teams are considered ranked at the time of selection, so no set of rankings matter besides the set used at selection time. Not sure what there is to hide with the last set of rankings. Transparency is good. Not publishing them — I’m just saying at some point before the next season — seems like an unnecessary crutch.

• The committee also proposed ranking eight teams in each region rather than the current formula of the top 15 percent of each region and a minimum of six teams. I won’t bore you with the minutia of why, but I like that idea. However, if approved, I hope the committee doesn’t think that the playing field would then be level in all regions in terms of selection criteria with that one simple change. It would help, but certain regions would still have scheduling advantages/disadvantages with the strength of schedule disparities, results against regionally ranked teams, etc.

• It appears that nonconference strength of schedule will be a primary criterion next season. I’m on board with that.

• The 2014 and 2016 championships will be held Friday through Sunday. The 2015 and 2017 championships will held Thursday through Saturday because they will be at Calvin. Calvin is one of several programs that do not play on Sundays. The NCAA honors those requests whenever possible.

• The committee spit-balled the idea of combined D-I, D-II and D-III women’s volleyball championships in 2020, the 40th anniversary of the D-III women’s volleyball championships. As you probably know the men’s basketball divisions held combined championships in Atlanta last season and the response was generally positive despite the difficult logistics and planning.

• It’s not in this report, but the American Southwest Conference and the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (in other words the Texas D-III programs) will move from the South Region to the West Region in 2014. That is a long-overdue filling of the West void. There will be other changes to next year’s Pre-Championship Manual, but that can wait for another day and another post.

-Ricky Nelson


Written by Ricky Nelson

March 13, 2014 at 2:27 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

2 Responses

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  1. Thanks for the excellent summary Ricky! Having already gone through my VB withdrawals, I’m not sure this helps my condition but love the info. :-)

    As you state, moving the Texas D-III teams to the West does fill a void but doesn’t it create a huge talent void in the South? I think they only have 4 automatic bid conferences (counting GSAC and now SAA) and they simply do not have enough quality at-large teams to fill their bracket.

    This sort of brings us to the idea of ranking 8 from each region (which I support as a good first step). The West will now be too good to just regionally rank 6 teams. I’d like to see 12 teams ranked in each region or maybe rank each team that has a winning record.


    March 14, 2014 at 2:19 pm

  2. If you’re trying to balance the regions, I don’t think there were many options besides moving the Texas teams. We can all agree that the West Region needed more than 21 programs. I doubt there will ever be parity among the regions in terms of elite programs and depth. The West Region goes from two Pool A conferences to four. Moving the ASC and SCAC almost had to happen.

    The West won’t be the only region with great teams outside the regional rankings. That’ll take some getting used to, but with rare exception it’s been a yearly occurrence in the Great Lakes, Central and Midwest.

    Part of the reasoning for the proposed change to eight ranked teams is the time it takes to debate the merits of teams that will not be getting Pool C bids anyway. I cut both ways on that. I appreciate the honesty. I appreciate that the committee members are volunteers. I also appreciate thoroughness. Thoroughness to me means turning over all rocks within reason. It’s reasonable to me that the ninth-ranked teams (and beyond) in some regions can and should get a full accounting in the process. Not so much for those lower-ranked teams themselves but for the resumes of those ranked above them.

    My compromise would be to rank 10 in each region. I think that would include most or all of the quality teams in each region, making the primary criteria thorough without including too many teams that would unduly manipulate the numbers. I also think it would be worth the committee volunteers’ time. Most importantly it would be doing right by the athletes. Thoroughness may be a pain for the volunteers with established careers, but changes in Division III should be made with student-athletes in mind. Inclusiveness and thoroughness do not hurt student-athletes.

    -Ricky Nelson

    Ricky Nelson

    March 14, 2014 at 5:59 pm

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