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

Volleyball committee recommends changes

with 4 comments

This is old news, but the volleyball committee recommended and announced changes to the regional rankings and selection criteria at the annual meeting in January. Notable nuggets from the report:

• Recommended ranking 15-21 percent of teams in the eight regions, with a maximum of 10 teams (The committee would prefer to rank eight teams in each region).
• Recommended seeding the final eight teams.
• Announced bid allocations as 43 Pool A, 1 Pool B, 20 Pool C (same as last season).
• Announced nonconference strength of schedule will be added to the secondary criteria beginning this season.
• Announced results versus regionally ranked opponents will include teams ranked in both the final ranking and the preceding ranking beginning this season.
• Recommended creating a pronunciation guide for the online selection show announcers [my favorite recommendation].

I think the proposed and announced changes are positive ones. See the link above for several other agenda items.

-Ricky Nelson

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Written by Ricky Nelson

July 1, 2017 at 1:33 am

Posted in Uncategorized

4 Responses

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  1. No great heartburn over the changes, either.

    With regards to reducing the number of teams ranked in the larger regions, the main impact is to the teams that benefited by playing these lower ranked teams and getting better winning percentages in the results against ranked opponents (a primary NCAA selection criterion). I’ve mentioned a number of times that I didn’t understand why more teams didn’t travel to the NY and NE region to play. Winning against these teams would help come selection time. Of course, travel costs are always a big hindrance here so I’m happy that this regional benefit will be eliminated. It will be interesting to see how (or if) this impacts the NY and NE regions when it comes to placing more than 8 teams into the NCAA tournament come selection time.

    The seeding of the NCAA championship is interesting, too. I see both sides of this argument but when Emory and Calvin face off in what everyone generally considered at the time to be the 2017 Championship Final in the quarter-finals, there is an issue that needs addressing. The downside is that it sounds like the NCAA will give some teams easier regionals (due to travel and budget restrictions) and then reward them again by given them an easier championship quarter-final match. Not sure what to do about that but it would have (probably) given us a championship quarter-final round of:

    Calvin (1) v Tufts (8)
    NW (4) v MW (5)

    Emory (2) v Wash-St Louis (7)
    SU (3) v Eastern (6)

    Definitely more fair and you still have 3 matches that would have been pretty equal. This may mean, however, that we’ll never see another NCAA quarter-finals where all four matches go to 5 games.

    DIIIFan

    July 3, 2017 at 8:39 am

  2. Congratulations Ricky on the Grant Burger nomination! It was well deserved.

    Don’t discount the pronunciation guide. They need it! I have first hand experience of how annoying/disappointing(show prep much) that is. It happened many years ago to my daughter’s team the first time they qualified (no worries DIIIFan it was a pool A bid). You are sitting at your computer, enjoying the show, and – huh? what did she say? was that them? and you have to check the graphics to confirm. sheesh! Sounds like they have not been the only one.

    Too bad on the pool B bid. I am guessing they do not want to go over 20 in pool C. They never have as far as I can tell, I know they haven’t since 2007. It would just be a tease till that new super league, the American Collegiate Athletic Associate(watch out UAA) makes it 44/0/20 in a few years.

    I agree with the ranking changes, going to 10 is fine, going to 8 is fine. It is less work for the committees and they are busy enough in the 24 hours or so they have at the end to do this.
    I also think that this will have zero effect on NE region bids. If the change in 2013 from the word “region” to “D3” in the criteria did not effect the NE level of bids (it didn’t) then nothing will.
    Eliminating the 11th and 12th spots wont probably have much effect at all as the usual top 10 will play each other and the chances they even scheduled the teams ranked 11 or 12 is worse than a coin flip.
    Going from 10 to 8 will definitely change the numbers since we are probably talking about league matches. But at that point it could potentially help as much as hurt. You are assuming that all these matches are in a teams win column which they are not at that point. Why aren’t they wins? Because the top half of the NESCAC and the NEWMAC are really strong competitive groups. To suggest the NESCAC and NEWMAC don’t deserve bids – well I just disagree, and the NCAA does too (see note below).

    Ricky, you saw the matches, did you think Tufts disgraced D3 volleyball? I thought they were pretty good. And remember they were there on a pool C bid because the league they play in has other good teams too.

    And on the notion of coming to NE to play. I will echo others I have read, I know for a fact that the NESCAC schools (and probably the NEWMAC as well) would LOVE to have teams come in. Feel free to invite yourself. The preliminary schedules I have seen have NESCAC teams playing 17 matches with out of region (not NY) teams. So we will have some data.

    Side note: I have been working on stats for the pool B and C bids from the last 10 years. I have most of the raw data(thanks for the help there Ricky.I researched your archives). I need to pull it all together the next month or so. I see some interesting things already and it should be a fun way to start some conspiracy theories.I am thinking a volleytalk thread but not sure yet.

    You got me going and it is only July! Looks like a fun season ahead!

    NED3VballFan

    July 8, 2017 at 2:13 pm

  3. Hey NED3VballFan!

    Love the VB talk in July. Dark days indeed.

    I definitely understand that my past comments (heck, and future comments) will come off as anti-NE and anti-NY but truthfully it’s more about the lack of money in the DIII volleyball world. I do feel strongly that the weaker regions (NY, NE and South) have a responsibility to prove their Pool C bid worth against stronger teams even if it means leaving the region. Again, (I assume) lack of money. The south doesn’t get picked on by me too much because frankly we don’t see the NCAA awarding Pool C spots to them very often (for instance – Berry last year).

    It does all manifests itself with me when the NCAA awards a second regional to the NY region and hands out Pool C bids to Ramapo and Clark. The NCAA tells us that Ramapo and Clark deserve their spots and as luck would have it that allows us to put another regional in NY and that saves on travel (flights). How fortunate we all are that it magically worked out that way. Is that the fault of the NY and NE regions? No, it comes back to the lack of money, but I still reserve the right to bristle against Ramapo getting the Pool C bid and then rewarding us all by NOT FREAKING TRAVELING out of the NY/NJ area yet again!

    With regards to Tufts, of course they didn’t disgrace D3 volleyball. Wonderful girls that overcame a tough injury (Humann) to almost pull off an epic comeback. If they can replace their middles I would expect to see them in Grand Rapids in November. Oh, and kudos to them for going out-of-region and playing some tough teams (and Oshkosh…ha ha) this upcoming season. (The Tufts of this world are not my issue.)

    DIIIFan

    July 10, 2017 at 10:07 am

  4. NED3VballFan,
    Thank you! My hope is that recognition for this blog will spur others to create blogs with regional coverage like the ones in New England and the now-defunct site based in New York. Ideally, places like D3vb.org will garner enough support to provide lasting coverage.

    There was no snark in my enthusiasm for a pronunciation guide. It’s a shame that there isn’t one. More of a shame that an announcer makes a guess rather than asking for the correct pronunciation. There are some tricky ones among the 400+ schools, but it’s not difficult to get them right. Buena Vista, Fontbonne, Gustavus Adolphus, Principia and St. Olaf are mispronounced routinely in my neck of the woods. I can rattle off several other examples from each region. It’s OK to not know how to pronounce every school. It’s not OK to merely take an educated guess at pronouncing them in an official capacity.

    When I created the script for the championship banquet video and worked with our campus’ speakers at the banquet on pronunciations, I scoured the internet for player interviews and the like because it was a respectful thing to do. For example, it was nice to find Calvin’s Facebook posts with each player introducing themselves on video. That allowed us to get Keilahna Castillo’s name correct (turned out it was her surname that required more practice).

    Changing the number of ranked teams will help in comparing results against ranked opponents. My sense is that the top New England teams will still have many more ranked results in relation to the country, but any little adjustment should help in comparing teams.

    The top of the New England Region is competitive on a national scale, and the quality seems to be getting deeper. The NESCAC is typically deep and challenging. The NEWMAC’s top tier is good, and those Boston teams competed well in the recent past. Tufts obviously represented New England very well last year.

    I still count about 10 Pool B candidates for this season. That seems barely sufficient for its own bid, but I’ll do the math once the season gets rolling. The dual-membership schools are now the ones that need to be scrutinized. My hunch is that Maranatha prefers qualifying for D II NCCAA nationals over any potential NCAA D III berth.

    -Ricky Nelson

    Ricky Nelson

    July 10, 2017 at 1:37 pm


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