March 17, 2008


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Present: Jeanne Hess (Chair), Jen Bowman (NESCAC), Paul Dill (NEWMAC), Chad Braegelmann (Commonwealth Coast), Amanda Cuiffo (Great Northeast), Dave Hildebrandt (Independents), Steve Pike (SUNYAC), Roger Worsley (Empire 8), Lisa Gallagher (Independents & Skyline), Bridget White (NJAC), Alexa Keckler (Centennial), Margie Knight (Capital), Randall Kreider (Commonwealth), Phil Pisano (AMCC), Robin Pietryk (USA South), Andrea Hoover (ODAC), Sam Lambert (SCAC), Kandis Schram (GSAC), Michelle Blaeser (MIAC), Jennifer Walker (IIAC), Deb Zellers (Independents), Bridget Sheehan (NCAC), Vicki Brault (OAC), Becky Schmidt (MIAA), Tammy Swearingen (President's), Deb Schulman (WIAC), Kathy Gebhardt (NAC), Rick Swan (Independents), Dianna Graves (SCIAC), Kim Kelly (UAA), Stephanie Schleuder (Macalester College), Kerry Carr (Rules Committee Chair), Kathy DeBoer (AVCA), Jason Jones (AVCA)


Not Present: Jolie Ward (Little East ), Jonathan Penn (Liberty), David Shumaker (NEAC), Deana Jespersen (Pennsylvania), Michele Zabinski (Freedom), Tom Ackerman (SLIAC), David Kwan (Heartland), Deb Kiick (CCIW), Jennifer Saylor (Midwest), Mark Massey (Northwest)


The purpose of this conference call was to gather the DIII HCC together for a discussion of the rules changes that have recently been recommended by the NCAA Volleyball Rules Committee and approved by the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel. A formal agenda was not developed for this call.


Rules Committee Chair Kerry Carr began the meeting by briefly discussing how the rules process works. An outline of this process can be found in the 2007 Convention General Meeting minutes on the AVCA Web site. Kerry stated that the start date for the 2 year rule cycle had not yet been determined. Thus, the timetable for changing any current rules or implementing new rules has not been set.


Kathy DeBoer addressed the issue of what position the AVCA has taken on the rules changes. The survey data indicated that the Division I coaches favored the change by about the same margin as the Division II and III coaches opposed it. Based on this Divisional split in the voting the AVCA, through it's divisional representatives decided not to take a position on the NCAA Rules Committee recommendations. Kathy mentioned that she has asked several times for consideration from the NCAA to allow each division to adopt their own specific set of rules as she could see these types of conflicts coming. The NCAA will not accommodate this request specifically for volleyball so the AVCA will continue to look for opportunities to connect with other sports groups seeking this option. The current regulations require that all divisions play by the rules regardless of their different philosophies.


Stephanie Schleuder raised the concern that a reduction in points from 30 to 25 with the concomitant reduction in substitutions from 15 to 12 would result in fewer opportunities available for women playing volleyball. Kerry Carr answered that the Rules Committee examined several models including the FIVB model of playing to 25 points before making a decision. Because reducing the points in a set provided an opportunity for a weaker team to compete with a stronger team, the data from the FIVB shows the matches are on average longer than the average DII or DIII match. Instead of losing 3-0 in some cases the matches were being played to 3-1 or 3-2 thus increasing the length of the match. Kerry mentioned the FIVB example is not comparing apples to apples so it doesn't necessarily mean the match time will remain the same or increase for DII and DIII matches. Kerry also mentioned that USA Volleyball data on match length was reviewed by the rules committee during their deliberations and it too confirmed that matches went more sets in the 25 point format. Kerry reported that there currently was no actual data on college match length using the 25 point format. After the new rules have been a place for a year the Rules Committee will have actual data to compare and measure the impact. Kerry said the new substitution rule was not intended to reduce the competitive opportunities for women but simply to stay proportional to the current system rather than increase the substitutions allowed per set. Again, data will continue to be gathered so future rules committees can make considered decisions regarding these issues.


Steph asked what the AVCA's position was on the changes. Kathy answered that the organization started planning for ways to help coaches adjust as soon as the rules committee decisions were announced. The AVCA has engaged several coaches who have competed using both 25 and 30 point games and asked them to provide articles on the differences.


Paul Dill, the men's and women's coach at MIT, asked if now men's volleyball and women's volleyball would be playing to different point totals. Kerry answered that the men's playing rules are determined by the Men's Volleyball Committee as opposed to a separate rules committee. Their representative said they would be looking to change to 25 points also, but that would need to be a deliberation for the entire committee at their next meeting.


Another issue was the impact of DIII schools that play NAIA or two-year colleges who currently play to 30 in a set. Jeanne and Kathy mentioned that they are hearing that NAIA and two-year schools will also be looking to change to 25 point sets so if that change goes through it shouldn't cause a problem for DIII schools.


A final question was why the NCAA Rules Committee only had two Division III representatives out of eight committee members. Kathy answered that all NCAA-wide committees give a numerical advantage to Division I. This was part of the change to a federated system of voting that was implemented in the 1990's. On legislative issues the three divisions vote completely separately from each other. On association-wide committees like Rules, PROP, CWA and MOIC, the representation is weighted to Division I by approximately two to one. Kathy attributed this bias mainly to the fact that almost all NCAA financial resources come from the Division I Men's Basketball Championship so in the restructuring DI negotiated a favorable voting position in relation to Divisions II and III. The AVCA will look to build time for meetings into the convention schedule that will allow for discussion on potential rules changes and information sharing on NCAA issues.


Moving forward Jeanne told the HCC to continue the dialogue with their conference coaches about the rule changes and to work together through NCAA channels on changes they would like to see in the future. Kerry encouraged HCC members to become involved in the rules process by seeking a seat on the Rules Committee or getting to know the DIII representatives on the committee and by participating in the dialog sessions hosted by the AVCA on these matters.


The meeting was adjourned at 12:02 p.m. ET. The next Division III Head Coaches Committee conference call will be held at 11 a.m. ET on Monday, April 14.



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