In the aftermath of a controversial NCAA Tournament selection process, coaches and college men’s volleyball fans for the upcoming seasons will now have the opportunity to view the same data used by the selection committee.
Committee chairman Ron Shayka said in an interview earlier this week with Off the Block that the committee at its annual meeting recommended to make publicly available all the statistical analysis of teams the committee receives from the NCAA.
“What came out of [the meeting] was a desire to get the information that is available to the committee and make it out there for public consumption,” Shayka said. “All of this statistical analysis will be available so everyone can see it. It will be easy for people say, we jeez this is what the committee is looking at because it’s available to the general public.”
These statistical analysis of teams the NCAA provides the selection committee is among the primary documents used for the committee determine the two at-large bids and seeding for the NCAA Tournament, Shayka said.
This emphasis on transparency with the selection process comes after the committee’s decision last season to give Lewis the final at-large bid to the newly expanded six-team NCAA Tournament.
Lewis became the second non-West Coast team in the history of college men’s volleyball to earn an at-large to the NCAA Tournament.
The Flyers held an edge over several at-large bubble teams in the nine criteria categories used by the selection community. However, the decision outraged several people in the volleyball committee because Lewis was not ranked a top 10 of the national coaches poll — nationally rankings, though, are not a piece of the selection committee criteria.
The recommendation to make all NCAA statical analysis that the committee receives public still needs to be approved by the NCAA.
Shayka said he is optimistic the data will be available to the public starting in the 2015 season. In addition, the chairman said the committee wants the NCAA to make this policy retroactive and release data from previous seasons to the public.
UC Irvine coach David Kniffin in an interview with Off the Block on Thursday said he likes that the NCAA committee is being proactive and making the selection process more transparent. Kniffin, who guided UC Irvine to the 2013 NCAA championship, also said releasing the data to the public will help everyone better understand the selection process.
“I love the effort and awareness of the selection committee right now. We made a drastic shift moving the NCAA field to six [teams], and I don’t envy the position of a committee in that,” he said. “Looking at the criteria I think there was so much talk about it. It was clear that it wasn’t clear enough. We are all going to have our different prespectives. There was enough gray area within the criteria that it wasn’t just black and white as we would have liked it to be.”
Shayka said making the process more transparent will also highlight the committee’s emphasis for teams to play more non-conference matches.
“The other thing [releasing the statical analysis] does is reinforces what we’ve said all along, which is the more there is inter-conference play the better it will be for that statistical analysis,” Shayka said. “Just to have more cross-comparison to look at as we move forward it will make those numbers even more valid.”
One of the challenges for college men’s volleyball in recent seasons has been the amount of available non-conference matches because of the varying length of conference seasons.
Of the four conferences with automatic bids to the NCAA Tournament, the EIVA next season will have the smallest conference schedule at 12 match. In contrast, the MPSF in 2015 will have the largest conference schedule at 22 matches.