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By Gary Brown
The Division III Championships Committee on Tuesday approved conducting the finals of the new Division III Men’s Volleyball Championship over the final weekend of April beginning in 2012.
Division III adopted the Association’s 89th championship at the NCAA Convention in January. The inaugural finals will be April 27-29, 2012, at a site to be determined. It will be considered a spring sport.
It was originally speculated that the championship would encompass an eight-team tournament at a single site conducted over the third weekend in April. But since the championship was adopted, several schools have indicated interest in adding men’s volleyball, which would increase the bracket size and require the championship to be played over two weekends instead of one.
The recommendation for the date formula came from the newly established Division III Men’s Volleyball Committee. The four-member panel reasoned that conducting the finals during the fourth full weekend in April (Friday through Sunday) also helps alleviate scheduling concerns for prospective hosts, especially since most Division III institutions have only one gymnasium and are strapped with winter sports.
It is possible, even likely, that the third weekend in April will become part of the championship date formula in the end. Current sponsorship numbers (based on schools that have indicated their intent to add men’s volleyball) would support a nine-team field, but a final determination of the bracket size won’t be made until 2011-12 sponsorship numbers are available in August.
Assuming the field will be more than eight teams, it would require a preliminary round the third weekend of April, with either four or eight teams advancing to the finals site.
The members of the Division III Men’s Volleyball Committee are Louise McCleary, director of athletics at Elms; Charlie Sullivan, men’s volleyball coach at Springfield; Gary Williams, associate director of athletics for education services at Carthage; and Jose Piña, men’s volleyball coach at New York University. The committee will announce sites for the 2012 and 2013 tournament finals during the semifinals of this year’s Molten Championship April 15-16 at Nazareth.
In a related action, the Division III Championships Committee approved the Men’s Volleyball Committee’s recommendation that McCleary chair the group, effective immediately.