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

New conference replaces role of defunct GSAC

The NCAA approved a new Division III conference — the American Collegiate Athletic Association — that will consolidate many of the formerly independent Division III women’s volleyball programs.

The ACAA will be comprised of New York institutions Alfred State and SUNY Canton, Finlandia from Michigan, Maine-Presque Isle, Mills from California, Pine Manor from Massachusetts and Valley Forge from Pennsylvania.

The new conference held a handful of unofficial postseason tournaments, including women’s volleyball, last season. The ACAA will officially conduct league postseason championships beginning in 2017-18.

My take: New leagues are required a two-year waiting period before becoming eligible for NCAA postseason access. The ACAA should be on track to gain an automatic berth for the 2019 championship as the league has the minimum of seven members, and Alfred State is in provisional status until 2018 anyway.

In essence, the newly formed ACAA will perform the same function as the recently defunct Great South Athletic Conference, which had a similar amalgamation of programs. I always treated Pool B team as a conference anyway because that was its rationale. Each program has two opportunities to gain access to championships.

By my count, there are now six independent programs, two teams in the provisional process without a conference and three in the exploratory phase of D III. The takeaway is that Pool B should not be a thing for the foreseeable future. Now I won’t get to shake my head over a team like Rust tipping the scales of the access ratio to trigger a Pool B berth.

If anyone can tell me how or why Rust has been eligible for the NCAA Division III Women’s Volleyball Championship in the recent past, I have a few eye rolls left in me. Any scheduling waiver should not supersede something like a 10-match varsity schedule or whatever Rust ended up putting together, which was hard to tell based on NCAA stats (55 team kills in 30 sets?) and Rust’s own beautiful website.

My math said if there were one or two fewer Pool B teams in the past couple of years, there should not have been a Pool B berth based on declarations to other association postseasons, provisional statuses and whatnot. The good ol’ Rust Bearcats … I wonder how many national committee members know Rust exists and/or why its existence perhaps played a role in there being a Pool B berth. I’ve been wanting to rant publicly about Rust for years. Glad I had this tangential excuse.

The All D III Teams, Conferences page has been updated to reflect the new league, updated provisional programs and new exploratory members.

-Ricky Nelson


Written by Ricky Nelson

February 18, 2017 at 4:18 am

Posted in Uncategorized

2 Responses

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  1. Hey Ricky! I’m at least happy this super conference only includes one West Region team and I shouldn’t have to worry about Mills taking a Pool A spot at least until they win a match at some point. Happy that Pool B is done with for a bit.

    Any interest in a road show this year where we visit each team in their home gyms? Looks like it will only take 70 hours and 4,444 miles. We’ll split the driving. Oh yeah…forgot…dang…so close to making this happen! :-)

    Little over 6 months to go!


    February 20, 2017 at 1:41 pm

  2. DIIIFan,
    I’m in for a trip. Shotgun! Just lemme check with my boss. I’m sure he’d have no problem with me vacationing the entire fall season. I’ll start making mix CDs for our road adventure.

    Mills … one set win on the year — against a school that sounds made up — makes me think the ACAA title is nigh indeed.

    -Ricky Nelson

    Ricky Nelson

    February 22, 2017 at 5:17 pm

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