The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

D-III schedule changes for NCAA’s 75-year anniversary

With all of the changes in NCAA Divisions I and II happening in athletics, what is with Division III?

We typically do not hear much of what is happening in D-III as in D-I, where there is chronic shuffling of conferences almost to the point of being overexposed on ESPN. In contrast, the Old Dominion Athletic Conference quietly added Shenandoah University for a full-time membership for the 2012–2013.

However, this season of the men’s basketball tournament will signal change to come for D-III athletics.

The Division III men’s basketball tournament recently changed its scheduling for the 2012–13 tournament for a one-season basis to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the NCAA. Top-seeded teams will have two weeks between the end of the regular-season and their tournament openers. However, there would be a fifteen day break between semifinal games and the national championship.

The new schedule seems absurd to those fans who have watched the D-I tournament with the Final Four on Saturday night and the final game on the following Monday. However, many D-III coaches have mixed feelings on the rescheduling.

The New York Times interviewed D-III coaches about the rescheduling.

Brandeis Head Coach Brian Meehan vehemently criticized the new schedule.

“D-III teams aren’t built for that,” he said to the New York Times. “It’s not the world we live in. It’s not the Super Bowl. These are not scholarship athletics. The NCAA always likes to say ‘students first,’ but rarely are their decisions for the students.”

Sound familiar?

The NCAA has been consistent with controversial decisions, most of which are at the expense of student athletes. With D-I programs changing to geographically inappropriate conferences, students are often at risk of missing classes due to extensive travel. With a rescheduling in the D-III tournaments, students are at risk with missing class and having to travel due to the extensive gap in the new format of the tournament.

However, coaches will try to accommodate to the new schedule.

“We’ve never had two weeks off during the season before, so it will be interesting to see how we handle that,” said Ken DeWeese, head coach of Mary Hardin-Baylor said to The New York Times.

Amherst Coach David Hixon concurs.

“We’re banged up and we’re not ready, so for us, it’s break,” Hixon said to The New York Times. Hopefully, we’ll learn how to handle this break and … we’ll get a chance to handle another one in April.”

The change will also end Salem’s 17-year run as Final Four host. Since 1996, a bond has developed between Salem, Virginia and the players, coaches and fans who make the trip every March.

This year’s championship game will run in Atlanta, Ga., on the Sunday between the semifinals and final of the men’s D-I tournament and the same day as the women’s D-I semifinals and the D-II championship game.

Will D-II and D-III be lost in the hype of the D-I tournament?

“I feel it will still feel like a championship experience,” said Coach Larry Anderson of Massachusetts Institute of Technology to The New York Times. “That we will not be playing second or third fiddle to anyone. D-III doesn’t mean third class, at least from where we sit.”

Even with the one-year change, this rescheduling could still bring about signs for further and more permanent change.

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