Q&A with NCAA men’s volleyball committee chairperson Oman

Photo by Jay Sowers.

It’s one of the biggest weekend of the year for Ohio State Executive Associate Athletic Director Janine Oman.

The chairperson of the NCAA men’s volleyball committee will work with her two other committee members this weekend to determine the seven-team field for the NCAA Tournament.

Check out Off the Block’s interview with Oman leading up to the Selection Sunday announcement.

Off the Block: We days away from Selection Sunday. What is this time of the season like for you and your fellow members of the men’s volleyball committee?

Janine Oman: It is busy, but very exciting! We get to be volleyball fans and watch lots of matches. The week leading up to selections, we are monitoring all of the conference championship matches and brushing up on the latest RPI data that will be distributed at the conclusion of the last conference championship contest.

OTB: As you know, there are many pieces of criteria that can be used to determine the NCAA Tournament field. Is the committee placing any addition emphasis on a particular piece of criteria this year?

JO: There is no specific piece of the criteria with an added emphasis. I believe you are familiar with our selection criteria: won-lost record; strength of schedule; and eligibility and availability of student-athletes for NCAA championships.
 
We also consider the following criteria in the selection of at-large teams for the volleyball championship (not necessarily in priority order):
Primary Criteria
— Rating Percentage Index (25 percent the institution’s winning percentage; 50 percent opponents’ success; 25 percent opponents’ strength of schedule);
— Head-to-head competition;
— Results versus non-conference opponents;
— Home and away results;
— Results versus common opponents; and,
— Results versus teams already qualified and other teams under consideration

OTB: One question that I’ve noticed fans have this time of year is how does the committee evaluate the way a team may lose a match. Does a committee view all loses equally or do they take into consideration if a match was a blowout or went five games?

JO: We view teams as either having won a match or lost a match. We don’t get into anecdotal discussions of how a match was won or lost by. When it comes to selection, we have several avenues to evaluate the data as discussed in the previous question.
 
OTB: Can you take us through the committee process for determining where the play-in match and the two first-round matches will take place this year?

JO: We have a document that is posted on NCAA.org (on the National Collegiate Men’s Volleyball page) outlining the NCAA Opening Round Structure. We will first determine those selected into the field and how they are relatively seeded. Once that has been decided, we will consider the following:
— Match-ups
— Opening round match-ups will be determined by geographic proximity. 
— Higher seeded team will host provided they meet geographic and hosting requirements as well as if they have submitted a bid to host.
— Bracket assignments for teams advancing out of the opening rounds
— Placement in the bracket will be at the discretion of the sport committee, but we follow the same principles as to geographic and hosting requirements
 
OTB: Has there been an new challenges this year for the committee with the NCAA Tournament expanding from six to seven teams?

JO: It has added an extra round to the opening round structure — an opening round to the other opening round matches. Additionally, it is a contest that we know will have to take place on campus, prior to determining whether the next round of opening round matches will be played on campus or at the finals site. This is all determined on the selection call once the field has been selected.
 
OTB: The NCAA Competition Oversight Committee will be attendance this year at the men’s volleyball NCAA Tournament. Can you further talk about this collaboration between the NCAA men’s volleyball committee and the oversight committee?

JO: Typically for most of our NCAA Championships there is a Competition Oversight Committee member (Division I), Division II Championships Committee member (Division II) or Division III Championships Committee member (Division III) attending the applicable event. All of our sport committees report to its respective oversight committee so for any administrative matters related to championships there is a significant amount of collaboration that has to occur (and is occurring) throughout the year to continually look for ways to enhance the championship.
 
OTB: This is the final year of your four-year term on the NCAA men’s volleyball committee. What are most proud of when looking back at what the committee has accomplished the last four years? 

JO: We continually evaluate the championship to create a special experience for the student-athletes and teams who are participating. This year we will be adding the challenge review system. This was feedback we have consistently heard from coaches. For me, it is about the people you meet and their commitment to the sport of men’s volleyball. I am very thankful for the opportunity to serve such a great community of people.