The DIII Presidents Meeting will occur next week and there is always some interesting things that come out of that. One item that will be discussed/reviewed is the realignment proposal that comes out of the “Sport Review Project”. As a reminder, the plan is to move from 8 regions to 10 in volleyball as early as the 2021 season. I have written some articles on this (here, here and here) with most declaring doom and gloom, but I was heartened that there was push back from NCAA members last year. The main issue for volleyball is the lack of competitive balance between the regions. The original proposal basically gave even more power to the larger regions, which currently are not our strongest. In a nutshell, the proposal would have resulted in a reduction of the most qualified teams being selected to the NCAA Tournament in place of less deserving teams from these larger regions. It’s going to be really interesting to see what the Sport Review Project recommends now that they had to consider competitive balance, but as I mentioned in one of my posts, the real issue isn’t realignment, but the inability of the selection committee to use the criteria to properly select the correct teams. If the selection committee can choose the correct teams then it really doesn’t matter what realignment looks like. (Note – The selection job this past season was really good. But, this was the first time in forever so I have to assume they just got lucky.)
Something I didn’t mention but back in November the Championship Committee rejected an appeal by the American Collegiate Athletic Association (ACAA) to gain an Automatic Qualifier (AQ) in volleyball. The committee ruled that they didn’t have the same 7-schools in the conference for 2-years. The 2-year rule is a requirement but there was an issue if it was any 7 schools or the same 7 schools. With that said, there is a rule proposal being discussed that would require conferences to play in-conference matches during the season to qualify for the AQ. This is an issue for the ACAA because their member schools are spread out through the nation and they would like only to have an end of the year tournament to gain the AQ. This is another thing to look out for during the President’s Meeting next week. (Note – Both Mills College and UC Santa Cruz are members of the ACAA.)
Finally, I haven’t seen this publicized but Moira Long will have to step down as the National Committee Chair as her term is up. I’ve heard that Danny Miller, the head coach of Averett out of the South Region, will be replacing her. The National Committee is the same thing as the Selection Committee so kind of a big deal come November. I’ve had no interactions with Coach Miller but have heard only good things about him. I will say that the South Region has done a lot better getting teams into the tournament with him as their RAC Chair.
I know I said “finally” above but that last note got me to thinking. With Sabrina Bingham stepping down as the West Region RAC Chair (well, that and coaching) there needs to be a replacement. I learned that the replacement is supposed to come out of the ASC. Concordia’s Coach Nicole McCoy represents the ASC in the RAC but she may not have the experience for the Chair position. I think UTD Coach Marci Allison is the logical choice and would do a great job, but I would be willing to bet she just read this and laughed. If no one from the ASC wants the position then it would be opened to the other conferences. Look for Whittier’s Coach Chris Duarte-McDermott to be in the running if that happens. You also have to remember that the position is open to the athletic staff, as well. This may mean we’ll see an athletic director from one of the schools ultimately take the position.