Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The New D2 Selection Process

...but apparently DII won't choose me to go to nationals if I rank 11-16th place. 

I made my Podium Pursuit picks for D2 men and women the other day.  I am pumped for the competition.  Drury's men are so stacked, they might actually be better than their team from '99 that beat Indiana in a dual.  One of my former swimmers was a 46.1 and 1:42.00 in the freestyles and was on the invited list and still did not make the DU National team because they can only take 18 men.  Their depth is absolutely crazy. 

When going through the psyche sheet, I marveled at what it took to get into the meet.  This is the first year they have been operating with their new selection process that was modeled closely after D1.  Last summer at a club meet I asked a very successful D2 coach what he thought of the decision to change selections and he was very vocally against it.  Even after I explained to him that the new process would favor him since his relays will allow him to pull in more swimmers he said he still thought it was bad for D2.  There was supposed to be a meeting this week to find a better way, and I hope that coach was able to be heard.

I went to the collegeswimming.com message boards and found a thread where they were arguing about it and posted this:

I saw these problems coming from a mile away. Last year I went on my tirade (http://swimviking.blogspot.com/2010/04/i-dont-understand-your-sport.html) about the D1 selection process being ridiculous, and then a few weeks later D2 adopted it. In my opinion, you guys have taken all of the flaws of the D1 system and magnified them by applying them to a smaller fish bowl. Even D1, with much higher participant numbers, doesn't fill 16 places based on the formula. How stupid is that!? D2 can do better.

I love that there are passionate coaches who want what is best for all involved tweaking it to better suit D2, but I am sure that when the list came out everyone was a little shocked by what it took to get invited. It is ridiculous that 16 don't get in when 16 score, and no formula is going to solve that completely. Some fast kids are going to be left out. Kids who should score. With so few individuals being invited, 95% of swimmers are going to be too afraid to not put in a full rest at some point just to get qualified. Is that what everyone really wants?

In my opinion this could be solved pretty easily. It doesn't sound like the issue with overpopulating the meet has anything to do with deck space. It has to do with cost to the NCAA. In my opinion, relay-only swimmers shouldn't cost the NCAA anything. If you want a real selection process that is fair, you make the schools pay for their relay-only swimmers and do not include them in the cap. I say take the top 20 for each event, allow 16 relays. Just put the expense for un-invited swimmers on the schools that are sending them.

In Missouri, the state high school association pays for 40 athletes to attend a state championship football game. Our school sends over 100. And the band. And the cheerleaders. And then the teachers all get together and rent a charter bus. And then they buy every player, including the 80 kids who sit on the bench the whole time, a big fat custom made ring. It's a big deal.

So why does the NCAA have to pay for every participant? Why not just the individual qualifiers? I don't see any school administration refusing to spend the money on a couple of plane tickets to fill a relay that should score. Nationals are a big deal. Plus, for many of them, they could just fill space in hotel rooms that are already paid for by the NCAA. Individuals should come first, at least out to 16 (or 20) places in a meet that scores 16. Being on a relay that gets in should not get a slower kid in the meet to swim all of his B cuts at the expense of a swimmer ranked as high as 11th in the nation. Come on guys! does anyone really think that is fair?

I would love to rant a little more about it... any of you guys have something to say to a swim blogger who sends a lot of swimmers to D2 schools? I would love to hear from some of you guys about what you think could be done better. GCU. Todd Peters? anyone want to get on skype to explain the process and some ideas to make it better?

if so, email me at jckw@prodigy.net. I would love to hear what some of you guys have to say and give you a chance to bring it to a wider audience. I would probably even get Greg to let me post it as a feature here. Let me know if you have something to say.

I haven't received any emails, but there are a couple of responses that made it sound like maybe I am not being received as a lunatic like some did with the whole D1 argument last year.  I have already had two swimmers commit to D2 schools this year.  I do care about getting them to fix this.  I want D2 to be better than D1.  I already think that their combined men and women 4 day format is better.  Why did they have to go and screw it up by trying to be like D1?

Please, if you have something to say about it, comment below.  And if you think you can pick D2 better than me, join my group, The Viking! Ship at Podium Pursuit-- but you better bring your A game.  I am planning to win that one. 

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