With the news on Friday that UT-Tyler was moving to DII, it seems only fair that we move a school into DIII. It was announced last year that JWU Denver was exploring a move to Division III, and yesterday the NCAA Membership Committee announced that Johnson & Wales Denver has been accepted as a provisional member starting on September 1, 2018.
JWU Denver now starts a 4-year process to obtain full membership. It’s possible that this process could take longer if the membership committee finds problems during its yearly evaluation but that isn’t expected.
As was announced last year, JWU Denver will become a member of the SCAC this upcoming season and will play a full slate of conference matches.
With the addition of JWU Denver, the SCAC expands to 9 volleyball teams, which begs the question on how they will handle the schedule. Currently, the SCAC groups half the conference in one “pod” and the other half in a second pod. The conference schedule then consists of 4 weekends, two where you play within your pod and two where you play a crossover with the other pod. The host sites rotate through the schools every 4-years. If they expand one of the pods to 5-teams then it means 5 matches for the two crossover weekends.
Now, from what I’ve been told, the 2018 schedule will break up the schools into 3 pods of 3 travel partners. If this happens then it means 6-weekends of conference play instead of 4. When you consider that there are 9-weekends of possible regular season play then this really hinders the SCAC when it comes to out-of-conference play. The other big question is what teams are in each of the 3 pods? I would assume TLU, Trinity and Schreiner would be in a pod. I would assume JWU and Colorado College are in a pod and the third pod would have Austin College and Dallas. That leaves Centenary and Southwestern as pod-less (yes, I wrote this entire paragraph for the specific purpose of using the word “pod-less”). I assume Southwestern goes into the Austin College and Dallas pod although it’s a 3+ hour drive to Dallas and another hour to Austin College. Actually, Centenary is about the same drive time to Dallas and Austin College as Southwestern so all bets are off. Regardless, if the SCAC goes with a “3×3 pod system” (I wonder if I should copyright that name) then one school is severely put out. (And on that note, every Colorado College fan is thinking, “So what!”) I would guess that the SCAC will treat the pods a little more fluid as far as the schedule goes. I mean JWU Denver and Colorado College can just play each other at any time (home and home series). In my mind, it would be easier to add Southwestern into the Trinity/TLU/Schreiner pod for their weekend of play, too. Bottom line, I don’t know how this will all work out but I eagerly await the schedule releases.
Another rumor I heard is that the SCAC will expand to 10 teams in 2019 with another provisional DIII member coming on board. I’d mention the school, but I can’t find anything on the internet that discusses the move.