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

Ricky Nelson’s 2017 Week 8 top 10

with 3 comments

The AVCA poll comes out Tuesday.

My rank, (My Week 7 rank, AVCA Week 7 rank), record, key results last week
1 (1,1). Wittenberg 18-0 [None].
2 (2,2). Colorado College 26-1 W: Southwestern; Trinity (Texas).
3 (3,4). Calvin 21-3 [None].
4 (4,6). Carnegie Mellon 25-1 [None].
5 (NR,25). Stevenson 27-1 W: Johns Hopkins; Stockton.
6 (5,3). Southwestern 25-4 L: Colorado College.
7 (6,16). Johns Hopkins 20-3 L: Stevenson.
8 (NR,18). Illinois Wesleyan 18-6 W: Wisconsin-Whitewater; Texas Dallas; Wisconsin-Eau Claire.
9 (7,5). Trinity (Texas) 23-6 L: Colorado College.
10 (NR,14). Johnson & Wales (R.I.) 26-0 W: Juniata; Wesleyan; Susquehanna.
Dropped out: No. 8 Wisconsin-Whitewater (20-4); No. 9 Northwestern (27-6); No. 10 Gustavus Adolphus (21-5).

The race for Last Team Standing could be decided in the national tournament.
The Conference Tourneys & Standout Stats pages have been updated.

Fingers are crossed that the regional rankings don’t use a Criteria Scorecard approach (Team A has 3 criteria, Team B has 2; thus Team A is clearly the choice) this week. That is not the committees’ task. In fact, we wouldn’t even need committees to determine that.

Fingers are crossed that the ranking committees understand that the criteria language is “RESULTS” versus ranked opponents, “RESULTS” versus common opponents. In other words, the language in the criteria is NOT winning percentage versus ranked opponents or winning percentage versus common opponents.

Committees get to decide which RESULTS versus ranked opponents are better. Committees get to decide which RESULTS versus common opponents are better in relation to others under consideration. The language says RESULTS for a reason. That reason is you get to debate and decide what you value most in those two criteria.

Committees also get to debate the meaning of relative winning percentages and SOS, especially when comparing teams from disparate leagues. If you rely on SOS without consideration of the factors behind those numbers, then some leagues should get all or most of their teams in the national tournament. The numbers are circumstantial, so treat them as such. Debate and decide.

We now have committees to decide that very meaningful minutia instead of using the Quality of Wins Index, which thankfully was left behind in 2007. Simply using a Criteria Scorecard is akin to the Quality of Wins Index that people regaled in finally burying.

The underlying strength of schedule figures and winning percentages for each team are not created the same. Treating SOS and winning percentages as a stone-cold factual number would only make sense if each team played the same schedule. Teams do not play the same schedules, so consider the sources of SOS and winning percentages like committees do in every other D III sport that I have covered. To have a .530 SOS in UAA or NESCAC women’s volleyball is not the same as a .530 SOS in AMCC or NEAC women’s volleyball, so why treat them as equal?

Also, head-to-head competition is its own criterion. I think it’s a very, very important criterion. Your mileage may vary, but with all due respect, I disagree if HTH is not among your most important criteria.

The Pre-Championship Manual states that the five primary criteria (and the four secondary criteria) are NOT listed in priority order. That is where the committees, once again, debate and decide what the priority order could be in certain instances. That’s the art; it’s the responsibility. In no way shape or form is the Manual suggesting the Criteria Scorecard approach of 3 criteria > 2 criteria because all that’s deduced with the Criteria Scorecard is that “salt is salty.” There are levels of salinity to be explored.

The resulting priority order is the beacon to the rest of the division. The committee has the power to debate and decide the direction for future scheduling when it can potentially say, “We are rewarding programs that beat a competitive schedule.” Sometimes committees in other sports have rewarded winning percentage, but at least apply diligence in the ranking research and send a consistent signal that says, “We valued this most highly.” I certainly hope the committee does not reward winning percentage or a raw SOS number unless it’s replete with context, but at least that’s an ethos.

Fingers are crossed that the ranking committees do justice to the rankings that directly affect student-athletes who dedicate a large portion of their lives to their sport. Pretty please with sugar on top, do right by everyone and take your time to consider the language in the Pre-Championship Manual. Thank you for your time and consideration in making sure things are right.

Differences of opinion will happen. And I like that, but my sense is that our disagreements in recent years have been due to more than mere differences of opinion. The problem I have is when the criteria are not considered in a thoughtful way, which the Pre-Championship Manual essentially demands you do through its carefully crafted language. There is an art element to the process that requires the work of diligent committees. Thank you to anyone else fighting the good fight.

In summation, my campaign slogan is “Say NO to the Criteria Scorecard. Say YES to drilling down into the numbers.”

-[This message has been paid for by] Ricky Nelson

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Written by Ricky Nelson

October 22, 2017 at 11:39 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

3 Responses

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  1. Well said. Donation sent.

    rbrochelle

    October 23, 2017 at 12:22 am

  2. rbrochelle,
    I have added to my published campaign platform since you last donated. It now reads as more of a manifesto, but I hope I can still count on your support this November.

    I am passionate about the issues facing this great sport, and I will continue to strive for the progress of the constituency to which I’m beholden.

    Thank you. Goodnight.
    [Commence pointing and giving thumbs-ups to various folks while walking off the stage to Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down,” which is cranked to 11 in a meager attempt to drown out the crowd’s roar]

    If I can get serious on you, I know no current committee member will change how he or she is approaching the current rankings, but I believe in a place called Hope. A change is gonna come.

    -Ricky Nelson

    Ricky Nelson

    October 23, 2017 at 1:33 am

  3. […] My Week 8 top 10 had Stevenson, Johns Hopkins, Illinois Wesleyan and Johnson & Wales (R.I.) instead of Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, Emory, Wisconsin-Whitewater and Millikin. […]


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