Men’s volleyball committee to provide feedback to NCAA Tournament contraction proposal

Photo courtesy of Fabiana Huffaker

Members of the NCAA men’s volleyball committee know they have work to do in the upcoming weeks.

Committee chair Lenny Kaplan said in an interview with Off the Block on Monday that the committee is preparing a formal response to a proposal that would reduce the men’s volleyball NCAA Tournament from seven to four teams.

“We reviewed the recommendation and completely understand the working group’s concerns,” Kaplan said. “We agreed to provide feedback to why they shouldn’t do it.”

The Championships Finance Review Working Group earlier this month requested feedback to its proposal reducing the costs for future NCAA Division I and National Collegiate championships. Among the recommendations includes reducing the NCAA Tournament field for seven sports and eliminating play-in matches.

Committees such as the NCAA men’s volleyball committee along with conferences and organizations have until July 10 to provide feedback before the working group formally submits the proposal to the Division I Council.

The working group’s proposal calls for sports with more than 50 teams to have NCAA Tournament fields at about 20 percent of their teams. Sports with less than 50 teams are recommended to have their tournament size at about 10 percent of teams.

Men’s volleyball in the proposal is listed at fewer than 50 schools resulting in a tournament field decrease.

The proposal, though, currently did not take into consideration the upcoming growth of the sport that would have it surpass the 50-team threshold by 2022.

The work group’s proposal has been a multiple-year process and will not be fully finalized until next year.

Kaplan said he does not view the initial recommendation as an attack on men’s volleyball. Instead, the chair and NJIT athletics director said he considers the working group’s role important to help make sure the NCAA is efficiently allocating resources based on the updated amount of teams in each sport.

“It’s always good to step back and review what you have working for years. We’re very thankful that they gave us a chance to provide feedback to their recommendation,” Kaplan said. “Now we have to make our case.”

Kaplan said the committee will meet again before finalizing their formal response to the working group. He also the five members of the committee will be speaking with their individual conferences before their next meeting to garner more input.