Want to Let the NCAA Know How You REALLY Feel?

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Want to Let the NCAA Know How You REALLY Feel?

Post by Stonehouse on Mon Nov 12, 2007 11:29 pm

Here's the contact for Division I Women's Soccer:

Keshia Campbell: kcampbell@ncaa.org

You know... if it was one time, fine. Two times, whatever. But THREE years in a row? Something's got to change.

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The Issue

Post by PilotNut on Mon Nov 12, 2007 11:38 pm

I know that we are all frustrated with the hosting / travelling thing, but we need to remember that the selection committee was working within the current set rules.... which are absolutely absurd. Mad

We need to aim our comments at changing the rule (needing to have teams within 350 miles), not that we got the short end of the stick again. Let the NCAA see *why* the rule should be changed... Talk attendance. Talk TV coverage. Talk revenues and expenses.

Complaining that we should have had a home game wont get us anywhere... but petitioning them to change the rule as to who gets to host... that is the underlying issue that needs to be addressed!!

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Re: Want to Let the NCAA Know How You REALLY Feel?

Post by Stonehouse on Tue Nov 13, 2007 9:23 am

Just sent my message... I'll copy and paste it here, in case some of you all need a bit of inspiration for what to write! Smile

* * *

Dear Ms. Campbell,

Hello! My name is Stonehouse and I am both an alumni and a long-time season ticket-holder for women's soccer at the University of Portland. I wanted to write and express my disappointment in the fact that the Pilots, once again, have been denied the right to be a host in the first two rounds due to the 350-mile radius rule. I understand that the committee was working within the current rules when they determined the hosts for this season, but I sincerely hope that the NCAA will consider making a change to this rule after this year's tournament.

While I understand that the goal of the rule is to limit travel costs, I would strongly encourage the NCAA to consider other factors as well. For instance: ticket sales. UP has lead the nation in average attendance three years running now. Our last home playoff game (against Notre Dame in 2005) sold out 5,000 tickets in six minutes. I think it wouldn't be too much of a stretch to assume that the NCAA would profit more by having three teams fly and selling close to 15,000 tickets for the games as opposed to having two teams fly and selling maybe 3,000 tickets if the opening rounds host-site has a large fan base. In 2005, only 517 fans watched UP's second round game against Nebraska at Lincoln. In the third round against Arizona, UP - undefeated, #1 seed, yet forced to travel for the first two rounds - sold 5,000 tickets in a matter of hours. I think it's obvious that whatever money the NCAA would save by having one team not fly would be FAR outsripped by the revenues gained in ticket sales if UP were allowed to host. I'm not saying that Portland should host simply because we sell a lot of tickets - if we don't earn the right to host based on our performance, than fine. However, if Portland HAS earned the right to host (as they did in 2002, 2005, 2006, and now 2007) than I think the NCAA should take ticket sales into consideration.

Furthermore, the NCAA should want to encourage the exposure of women's soccer to the general public. UP already has a deal in place with Comcast Sports Net to televise live any home playoff game. By denying UP the right to host these first two rounds, the NCAA lost the opportunity for thousands of fans across the Pacific Northwest and beyond to watch the games and (hopefully) become interested in supporting collegiate women's soccer. Again, if UP doesn't earn the right to host, then TV deals shouldn't matter. However, if UP HAS earned the right, I think the NCAA should take it into consideration.

Finally, I would like to make an appeal for the NCAA to consider changing (or at least softening) the 350-mile radius rule based on sheer inequity. It is not the Western US's fault that it is larger, more spread out, and less populous than the east coast. According to the current rule, UP needs either Portland State, Oregon, Oregon State, Washington or Gonzaga to make the tournament. That's only five other teams. Schools in California, the Midwest, Texas, the South, and up and down the East coast do not have such limitations. It is sad that a program like Portland - doubtless one of the crown jewels of the NCAA and that has done a tremendous job developing a fan base and support for women's collegiate soccer - is continually being punished by the NCAA for being located in a large state with a relatively small population.

Again, I understand that this and past year's selections were made based on the current rules. But I do hope that the NCAA will consider the plight of UP and seriously look into the reasoning behind and inequity of the 350-mile radius rule. This rule has damged UP much more significantly than any other program in the country, and something needs to change. If it happened to UP once, twice, even three times... fine. But four times in the past six years? Clearly, this is a brokem system that needs to be fixed.

Thanks for your time, and I look forward to a great tournament!

* * *

I'll post any reply I get.

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Re: Want to Let the NCAA Know How You REALLY Feel?

Post by UPSoccerFanatic on Tue Nov 13, 2007 9:58 am

Great letter, Stonehouse. The NCAA uses mappoint.msn.com for purposes of determining travel distances. I don't know if they do school-to-school or airport-to-airport. Since teams that are going to fly would have to get to and from the airports, it seems like the NCAA should use airport-to-airport, but the information I've found doesn't say what they use.

If it's school-to-school, then according to mappoint, the distance from U of P to Gonzaga is 354.7 miles. The distance from U of P to WSU is 354.5 miles. So if the NCAA follows its rule precisely, neither Gonzaga nor Wazoo is within range.

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Re: Want to Let the NCAA Know How You REALLY Feel?

Post by Stonehouse on Tue Nov 13, 2007 10:03 am

Wow... didn't realize the Zags were out of the range too. I knew that WSU was, just by a smidge.

Sigh... more than anything else, I wish they could just use it as a guide. All things being equal, sure try to limit travelling costs. But I think for a sport like women's soccer that doesn't really have a huge following, they should take advanatage of the few places that do have a big following when those places have earned the right to host.

I mean... couldn't they make teams go through a bid process like they do for baseball? Yes, travelling costs/geography also helps detetrmine where the baseball host sites are, but the bids also play a part - if a school can demonstrably show it can sell X number of tickets, etc., that is taken into consideration. Maybe soccer would benefit from this. More work for everyone, I know, but also maybe a more equitable process.

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Re: Want to Let the NCAA Know How You REALLY Feel?

Post by MSPDX on Tue Nov 13, 2007 10:03 am

Let's settle down. If we step back and take a closer look, the bracket makes a lot of sense with what we do know of the criteria for selection. I understand the LOVE for Portland, the incredible support for the Program but some of the remarks are out of control, I'll address some below.

The bracket... the comments about following the RPI are right on, it's the only statistical measure to compare teams- much like the BCS there are issues but can we really expect "fan support" to be part of the equation? It is a selection process year to year, team to team- not of program history or fan support. There is no thought as to what happend last year or two years ago...

Travel... Look at the bracket, the majority of teams are DRIVING to their assigned competition site. The teams flying are Portland, USC, Okla St, Wake Forrest, BYU, Hawaii, Memphis (maybe Auburn into Florida)... What do all these teams have in common, either they are in a flooded soccer area and need to break up a region (North Carolina / California) or there is NO ONE that can be paired with these institutions due to their location. Colorado benefits because Denver won an automatic, in previous years BYU has hosted because Utah can be paired. It doesn't matter that Merlo will sell out, the NCAA will not fly more then two teams into a location. 25 plane tickets on short notice, think about it....

The committee...This is not about lobbying or politics- really it's women's soccer people. It doesn't matter WHO is in the room, the NCAA staff for women's soccer championships regulates the pairings once the teams are picked- in other words get the minimum number of flights while trying to avoid conference match-ups. Start rooting for Oregon, OSU, PSU, Boise St, WSU, UW to improve because flying three teams in isn't practical.

Additionally, it wasn't too long ago that the field was only 48 teams. With expansion, there were rules regarding costs. Until the championship budget is increased, don't expect any other format.

Some perspective is needed... it's a privilege to play in the Championships, not a right to host-

Side note, talk to the men's team about a condensed bracket and how fair that is...speaking of which if you want to watch some soccer this weekend, you can still support the PROGRAM by going to the men's game on sunday.

It could be worse... at this point in the year ALL games are difficult and eventually to be NCAA champion, that team will have to play some tough games. Follow the philosophy of the staff, it doesn't matter where or when- but how the team performs.

Thank you for taking the time to read my post, I couldn't keep reading this board without comment. Again, I appreciate the passion for soccer in this community, but as the above post states- comments and frustration should not be directed at the Portland Staff, it is unfair and unwarranted.
GO PILOTS! GET IT DONE!

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Re: Want to Let the NCAA Know How You REALLY Feel?

Post by Stonehouse on Tue Nov 13, 2007 10:41 am

MSPDX wrote:It doesn't matter that Merlo will sell out, the NCAA will not fly more then two teams into a location. 25 plane tickets on short notice, think about it....

I can definitely see where you are coming from, MSPDX. But I've got to disagree with this statement... buying a bunch of tickets on short notice is the name of the game for EVERY SINGLE NCAA tournament from basketball to baseball to soccer to field hockey to water polo, etc. That's really not an issue.

The real issue is that this rule, while maybe well-intentioned, has unduly affected one program way more than any other. And that program happens to be UP.

I think a very compelling argument can be made that hosting the opening rounds at UP would generate way more revenue for the NCAA (remember, ticket sales to playoff games go to the NCAA) than hosting them (as in the past three years) in Lincoln, Salt Lake City, or Boulder. A simple cost/benefit analysis could be done pretty easily, I would think. Here are some rough - and I mean rough - estimates.

Let's assume that each team needs a ticket for 35 people - players, coaches, trainers, support staff, etc.

Now, let's also assume that a plane ticket on short notice will cost $400-$500. If I go on the high end, that ammounts to $17,500.

So... it would cost about $17,500 extra to make another team travel. (Hotel/food costs would be equal either way.)

Now, let's look at ticket sales. For UP's last three road playoff games in the opening rounds, the attandances were 517, 941, and 777. I don't have the number for UP's opening round game in 2005 (against Iowa State at Lincoln), but I think it's safe to assume it wouldn't have been more than the 517 that the home-town Huskers drew in round two against the Pilots. So... assuming 517 for the first round game, that makes the total attendance 2752. A four game total - which is considerable less than the number UP averages for one game.

Assuming the average ticket costs $7, that means the ticket revenue generated by those four games was $19,264.

Now, just using the regular-season average attandance from those years, if the games would have been held at UP they would have generated $95,354. That total is $76,090 more than the other sites.

Now, if those games were sell-outs (not a ridiculous assumption), the revenue generated would have been $136,976, or $117,712 more than the other sites.

Again, this is just assuming an average ticket price of $7. I'm not sure what the actual number really is, but I don't think it's far from that.

So, clearly, hosting those games at UP would have generated AT LEAST $76,000 for the NCAA, and more likley closer to $120,000. And that doesn't take into consideration the merchandise/programs/etc that the NCAA could sell with the larger crowds.

Either way, that number is WAY higher than the $17,500 it would cost to make another team travel.

Like I said, could every team promise this? No. UP is a bit of a special circumstance, and it would be great if the NCAA would at least be open to the possibility of granting us the hosting rights we earned through out performance on the field.

Obviously the "easy" answer is getting UW, UO, OSU, PSU etc. into the tournament. But that is totally out of UP's control and we shouldn't be punished for their regression (UW) or slow ascents (UO, OSU).

All it will take is some open-mindedness from the NCAA.

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Re: Want to Let the NCAA Know How You REALLY Feel?

Post by PilotNut on Tue Nov 13, 2007 11:58 am

Great message, Stonehouse! You hit every nail on the head to the NCAA.

I wonder if the NCAA has ever put pencil to paper like you did on the financials?! Rolling Eyes

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Re: Want to Let the NCAA Know How You REALLY Feel?

Post by Stonehouse on Tue Nov 13, 2007 12:08 pm

Well, it looks like Graham Hays at ESPN got some real numbers from UP:

The NCAA is going to foot the bill for flying two teams to Colorado, where the Buffaloes averaged 1,187 fans this season, instead of paying for one additional team to go somewhere that will generate four times the gate revenue.

According to figures obtained from the University of Portland, the school's 2005 quarterfinal at home against Notre Dame generated $34,700 of net revenue (gross revenue was $41,000). The NCAA takes 85 percent of those revenues, meaning it cleared $29,500.

And that was only one game. With two dates (two first-round games on Friday and one second-round game on Sunday) during the opening weekend of play, and even using a conservative estimate in which Portland somehow falls short of a sellout on one date, the NCAA would still get more than $50,000 from using Merlo Field as a host site.

Gross revenue of over $41,000 for a sellout. Jeesh! Kudos to UP for making those numbers available to the media... the time to get this darn rule changed is NOW.

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Re: Want to Let the NCAA Know How You REALLY Feel?

Post by ejjqb on Tue Nov 13, 2007 12:30 pm

This morning I was able to talk with Buzz Stroud and got more clarity on the limitations under which the committee works. Basically, they are stuck with rules that are handed down from two levels higher in the organization. He has worked for two years to effect some change but it all comes down to money. They have a restricted budget for the playoffs similar to other low-revenue sports such as volleyball and softball. Making exceptions for one sport leads to the same in the others so the NCAA has been very (too) slow to change.

As for basing the host on gate receipts, they are stuck with the reality that any big football school could come in with guaranteed money just to get the host role so they don't even open that door as it could work against the Pilots anyway. He reminded me that #1 seed Texas had to travel to Connecticut last year.

So any change must come from much higher up in the NCAA and money is the issue. Buzz still hopes for some change for next year concerning #1 seeds hosting.

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Re: Want to Let the NCAA Know How You REALLY Feel?

Post by UPSoccerFanatic on Tue Nov 13, 2007 12:48 pm

If we get a seed, and if the number pencil out, the NCAA should site the games here. The response I got from an NCAA representative to the suggestion of considering the net revenue numbers is as follows:

"Once the 30 automatic qualifiers and 34 at large teams have been determined and the (16) seeded teams have been selected the committee makes every attempt to provide each seeded team, given that they have submitted a proposed budget/bid for first/second round play (and subsequent rounds as well) and a facility evaluation form that indicates they have requisite facilities for championship play, the opportunity to host. The mandate handed the committee by the championships/competition cabinet, is that of the 48 teams that will travel, a limited number (historically six to eight) will fly, the rest will use ground transportation. Any trip by a participating institution that is of 350 miles or less is handled by ground transportation, 351 miles or more is via air. Essentially, first/second round competition is “regionalized” to minimize travel expenses (a security factor was also part of this rationale following 9/11). The committee currently has in place a championship regulation that institutions from the same conference will not face one another until the second round and that does provide some flexibility and in 2008 this regulation will be amended to prohibit conference match-ups until the third round. In 2006 two seeded teams, Texas and Oklahoma State, traveled to Connecticut and Clemson respectively.

"Revenue potential at a prospective seeded team’s site is delineated when the institution submits a proposed budget for hosting any round of championship competition and must enumerate projected gross ticket sales revenue and operational expenses. If providing the largest revenue stream was primary criteria for determining which institution would be granted host site privileges I would imagine Division I-A football powers with deep pockets would be quick to up the ante."

I found the last sentence about "deep pockets" disturbing. The question is not whether the largest revenue stream should be the primary criterion. It is whether, if a team has earned a seed and therefore the presumption that it should be able to host the opening rounds, the ability to cover any additional travel costs through reasonably expected revenues should justify an exception to the ordinary travel rule. The team's having earned a seed always would be a requirement for exceptions right to kick in.

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Re: Want to Let the NCAA Know How You REALLY Feel?

Post by UPSoccerFanatic on Tue Nov 13, 2007 1:05 pm

For those of you who are interested, I also received from an NCAA representative the following description of the Tournament Committee's process as the regular game season progresses:

"The protocol during the regular season by the Division I Women’s Soccer Championship Committee and the (6) Regional Advisory Committees is that commencing on the week of 9/24 and subsequently every two weeks thereafter up and through the championship selection weekend (11/10-11/12/07) each group conducts a conference call to review the RPI, rank the teams in each region and then review the rankings. National Committee members serve as voting and/or advisory members of each Regional Advisory Committee ..... The adjusted RPI is one of the primary factors for selection/seeding but not the only one and, depending on the disposition of a committee member, may be weighted equally with the other primary criteria, or may carry greater or lesser weight."

One of the things that really surprised me was that Arizona State did not get selected. I was hoping for Washington State, too, but thought that would be a long shot. But Arizona State seemed pretty likely to get in.

I've gone back over my RPI numbers and also analyzed the other two principal criteria -- head-to-head results and results against common opponents. After doing that, I sent an email to Buzz Stroud and Marianne Vydra (she's on the Tournament Committee, from Oregon State), with a cc to Larry Williams. I realize they have a really difficult job and very little time to react after the last weekend's games, but I still think they need to be willing to hear from people who think they might have made a mistake. Here's what I said. You can do your own analyzing to see what you think:

Although I am not an Arizona State fan, I'm a Portland Pilots fan and closely follow the NCAA Tournament selection process. Perhaps I'm missing something, but I can't understand, under your selection criteria, how Arizona State was not selected. As a Portland fan, this was a very important question, since it could have affected where the teams were sent for the opening rounds, especially if the Committee had selected Arizona State and not Colorado. (In that case, Hawaii, Arizona State, and Denver all would have been flying somewhere and the Committee could have sent them all to Portland.)

The RPI, following this past Sunday's games, had teams "on the bubble" in the following order, from best RPI to worst (assuming the NCAA's system had complete and accurate data, which usually but not always is the case):

Arizona State
Colorado
Georgetown
Auburn
Washington State
Miami

Among these teams, there was only one head-to-head game:

Arizona State defeated Washington State @ home, 1-0

In terms of common opponents for these teams:

Texas

Arizona State lost @ home, 1-0
Colorado lost @ away, 4-1
Colorado tied @ neutral, 0-0
Slight edge to Colorado over Arizona State

New Mexico

Arizona lost @ away, 1-0
Colorado tied @ neutral, 0-0
Slight edge to Colorado over Arizona State

Stanford

Arizona State tied @ home, 0-0
Colorado lost @ home, 1-0
Washington State lost @ away, 2-1
Edge to Arizona State over Colorado, plus Stanford is a #1 seed
Slight edge to Arizona State over Washington State

Virginia

Colorado lost @ away, 4-0
Miami lost @ away, 1-0
No edge or very slight edge for Colorado over Miami

Kansas

Colorado lost @ home, 2-0
Auburn tied @ neutral, 1-1
Edge to Auburn over Colorado

Pittsburgh

Georgetown defeated @ home, 4-2
Auburn defeated @ home, 3-0
No edge

South Florida

Georgetown defeated @ away 2-0
Miami lost @ home, 3-2
Edge to Georgetown over Miami, although this was a very bad loss for Miami, so it says very little about Georgetown.

Florida State

Auburn lost @ home, 3-0
Miami lost @ away, 4-1
No edge

Samford

Auburn defeated @ away, 3-0
Miami def @ away, 2-1
No edge or very slight edge for Auburn over Miami

LSU

Auburn defeated @ home, 2-0
Auburn tied @ neutral, 0-0
Miami lost @ neutral, 4-0
Edge for Auburn over Miami

Oklahoma State

Colorado defeated @ away, 1-0
Washington State defeated @ neutral, 1-0
No edge

UNLV

Arizona State lost @ away, 2-1
Washington State lost @ away, 1-0
No edge

Idaho State

Arizona State defeated @ neutral, 1-0
Washington State tied @ home, 1-1
Edge to Arizona State over Washington State

Arizona

Arizona State defeated @ away, 2-1
Washington State defeated @ away, 3-1
No edge

Washington

Arizona State defeated @ home, 3-0
Washington State defeated @ away, 2-1
No edge

Oregon

Arizona State lost @ away, 1-0
Washington State tied @ home, 1-1
Slight edge to Washington State over Arizona State

Oregon State

Arizona State defeated @ away, 2-1
Washington State tied @ home, 1-1
Edge to Arizona State over Washington State

California

Arizona State lost @ home, 3-1
Washington state lost @ away, 2-1
No edge

UCLA

Arizona State lost @ away, 3-1
Washington State lost @ home, 2-0
No edge

USC

Arizona State lost @ away, 1-0
Washington State defeated @ home, 2-1
Edge to Washington State, plus USC is a #2 seed

Although there are some arguments that could be made, there does not appear to be any basis at all for using the "common opponents" criterion for elevating Georgetown over Arizona State. I would argue that there also isn't much basis for elevating any of the others, although perhaps I could construct a chain of arguments for getting the other teams you selected above Arizona State. But there's no way to see it for Georgetown.

With these as the only criteria you are supposed to look at unless you can't make a decision based on them, and since Arizona State seems pretty clearly to be ahead of Georgetown based on these criteria, it appears that the Committee did not follow the criteria. I think there needs to be an explanation why Georgetown got in and Arizona State didn't.

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Opening a can of worms...

Post by MSPDX on Tue Nov 13, 2007 1:05 pm

Be careful of what your wish for....

If I'm a big conference school, with money to spare and the criteria for hosting is revenue/ticket sales- I'd buy them.... For example what is to stop Nebraska from buying the allotment just to host. By including ticket sales and other revenue considerations again favors big conference schools, it won't help.

I do agree with the ESPN article ...

"Travel costs for nonrevenue sports like soccer and softball annually threaten the integrity of the postseason competition. It's a fact of life that all brackets are not created equally."

The greatest injustice here is the injustice to the game-
That is the only reason it should be changed- not because Portland fans or any schools deserve more consideration.

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Re: Want to Let the NCAA Know How You REALLY Feel?

Post by Stonehouse on Tue Nov 13, 2007 1:49 pm

But MSPDX, I think you're missing the point. Honestly, I don't care if a BCS team earns a seed and decides to buy up a bunch of tickets. The bottom line is they earned the seed.

My major problem is a team earning the seed and then being forced to travel ostensibly to save money. Maybe giving seeded teams - if they are in danger of being shipped out for the first two rounds - the option to guarantee some money isn't a bad idea. If a school doesn't care enough about women's soccer to agree to host, fine. But if a school like Portland decides that they would indeed like to host it, then let them.

Remember... UP is in an incredibly unique situation. No one gets crowds like we do. Texas A&M gets over 3,000 people too, but they don't even charge for tickets. All their games are totally free.

For most other schools, no matter where they play the crowds will be pretty weak.

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Re: Want to Let the NCAA Know How You REALLY Feel?

Post by Geezaldinho on Tue Nov 13, 2007 2:25 pm

Stoney, you might be missing a point here, too.

Most BCS schools don't give a hoot about women's soccer, they just do it for tittle IX. Take a look at the new "sports" Oregon is starting up for comparison as to how they want to spend their money.

New baseball stadium for the men, new tumbling mat for the women.


Classic case--UCLA accepted a no-contest in it's first game rather than spring for rescheduling tickets home and getting the win they had in the bag. Imagine them doing that to John Wooden...

The big schools won't go for your proposal because they don't want to be put in a position of having to buy up tickets they can't sell just to save face.

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Re: Want to Let the NCAA Know How You REALLY Feel?

Post by Stonehouse on Tue Nov 13, 2007 2:38 pm

Good points, Geezer.

I guess what I *meant* was that if a team gets seeded but by the wims of the NCAA is seemingly going to be forced to travel (UP this year, Texas last year, etc.), than that team could be given the option to host - a right it has earned through performance - if they agree to cover the extra traveling costs. UP would be all over that, because we could cover the extra costs easily with ticket sales. A team like Oklahoma State or whatever may chose to decline the option and be shipped out. That way, if a team really wants to host, it can, and if they don't really care, they won't have to.

Maybe it's crass to think that way, but it seems to me to be a pretty good solution to the problem.

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Re: Want to Let the NCAA Know How You REALLY Feel?

Post by Rochin54 on Tue Nov 13, 2007 2:41 pm

Hmm. Really, we should just fix the whole dang thing, and let the highest seeded teams host. Are you (i.e., the NCAA) trying to tell me that sending your women's soccer team on the road for the playoffs is going to break the Athletic Dept. budget? Heck no! In fact, it is such a small, incremental cost when looking at an athletic department's budget (yes, even UP's), that it's a sham of a reason for doling out hosting priveledges.

I don't know when the rules for the women's soccer tournament were made, but they are archaic and useless in my opinion. It's broken. Fix it. I do not beleive for one second that minimizing travel costs is the reason for this rule. I just don't believe it.

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Re: Want to Let the NCAA Know How You REALLY Feel?

Post by UPSoccerFanatic on Tue Nov 13, 2007 3:38 pm

I think I'm close to my last numbers crunching for a while. Here's a chart that shows (1) for each tournament site, the average RPI of the three unseeded teams (with the seeded team's first round opponent's RPI in parentheses); and (2) for each tournament site, the average RPI of the two teams the seeded team is not playing in the first round. A close look shows that in the first round the NCAA, in setting up each site, has the seeded team playing the team in its group with the weakest RPI.

Average RPI of Three Unseeded Teams

UCLA 5961 (5602)
Florida 5928 (5790)
Tennessee 5923 (5591)
Florida State 5865 (5648)
Virginia 5811 (5471)
Notre Dame 5777 (5236)
Stanford 5775 (5102)
Texas A&M 5760 (5158)
West Virginia 5722 (5150)
Wake Forest 5707 (5195)
Portland 5676 (5516) [6th toughest opening round game]
Penn State 5673 (4724)
N Carolina 5631 (4790)
USC 5260 (5285)
Georgia 5591 (4604)
Purdue 5541 (5206)

Average RPI of Two Potential Second Round Teams

Penn State 6147
UCLA 6141
Stanford 6111
Tennessee 6090
Texas A&M 6061
Georgia 6084
N Carolina 6051
Notre Dame 6048
West Virginia 6008
Florida 5997
Virginia 5982
Florida State 5974
Wake Forest 5964
USC 5787
Portland 5756
Purdue 5707

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Re: Want to Let the NCAA Know How You REALLY Feel?

Post by UPSoccerFanatic on Wed Nov 14, 2007 1:20 pm

For those who are interested in the exact NCAA rules on site selection , the basic rule is in NCAA Bylaw 31.1.3.2.5:

"In championships that do not generate revenue, pairings shall be based primarily on the teams' geographical proximity to one another, regardless of their region, in order to avoid air travel in preliminary rounds whenever possible. Teams/ seeding relative to one another may be taken into consideration when establishing pairings if such a pairing does not result in air travel that otherwise could be avoided. The Championships/Competition Cabinet shall have the authority to modify its working principles related to the championship site assignment on a case-by-case basis."

There also are some other rules that may be relevant:

Bylaw 31.1.3.1: "Championships/Competition Cabinet approval shall be obtained before final site commitments are made to the host institution or any other individual or organization associated with the management of an NCAA championship. However, in the sports of baseball, basketball, field hockey, football, ice hockey, lacrosse, soccer, softball and volleyball, the governing sports committees are authorized to select sites for preliminary rounds of competition without prior Championships/Competition Cabinet approval."

Bylaw 31.1.3.2: The governing sports committees shall evaluate prospective sites for NCAA championships in terms of the specific criteria approved by the Championships/Competition Cabinet. The division championships committees may assign specific priorities to these criteria for their respective championships. These shall be specified in the appropriate championships handbooks. A governing sports committee that desires to use additional criteria shall obtain Championships/Competition Cabinet approval before doing so."

31.1.3.2.1: "The following criteria are to be used in the evaluation of sites for all competition in NCAA championships:

"(a) Quality and availability of the facility and other necessary accommodations;

"(b) Revenue potential (e.g., a financial guarantee or guideline that ensures fiscal responsibility and is appropriate for the particular event, as recommended by the governing sports committee and approved by the Championship/Competition Cabinet;

"(c) Attendance history and potential;

"(d) Geographical location; and

"(e) Championships operating costs."

In addition to the above Bylaws, the Championships/Competition Cabinet has adopted Policies and Operating Procedures. The important one of these is #8, which is as follows:

"8. Working Principles for Seeding, Pairing and Site Selection (Championships Other Than Men's and Women's Basketball)

"The cabinet adopts the following, recognizing the unique nature of each sport:

"A fair and equitable championship should be created to provide national-level competition among the best eligible student-athletes and teams of member institutions, with consideration also for approved regional structures for certain championships.

"....

"b. First-round conference matchups should be avoided. First-round is defined as first contest.

"c. Higher seeded teams should be given consideration in hosting (eg., taking into account other factors such as missed class time, quality and availability of the facility and other necessary accommodations, attendance history, financial considerations, geography, quality of the student-athlete experience, championship atmosphere and accessibility of fans, etc.).

"d. After seeding the approved number of teams, teams should be placed in brackets per Bylaw 31.1.3.2.6 [actually should be .5] (i.e., geographically) with consideration given to missed class time, the quality of the student-athlete experience, championship atmosphere and accessibility of fans."

My thinking is that once the tournament is over, we should develop some specific language to propose to the Division 1 Women's Soccer Committee and the Championships/Competition Cabinet that addresses the kind of "[un]fair and [in]equitable" situation that the Pilots women have encountered. And, since the Championships/Competition Cabinet is the body that really controls this, we should start a lobbying campaign to get a change.

By the way, in reading through all of this, there is no guarantee that the higher seed gets home games in the later rounds. It seems to me that last year, U of P could have argued that the quarter-finals should have been at Merlo (for example, to reduce the Pilots' players amount of lost class time from having to travel to three different venues).

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Re: Want to Let the NCAA Know How You REALLY Feel?

Post by Geezaldinho on Wed Nov 14, 2007 2:10 pm

I'm looking at those bylaws and they say everything we are asking for:

Bylaw 31.1.3.2.1: has geographical location as only 1 of the criteria. All the others would seem to trump it.
as to the suitable location, revenue potential, and the rest -- they just described us....

The fair and equitable clause has venue selection by seeding right behind the same conference clause, and before the geographic location clause.

They are really hepped up about the same conference clause because it favors the large conferences. How about the same zeal for the seeding and travel parts that might not?

We don't need any rule changes--force the committee to use the ones in place!

Maybe we should just propose this set of rules be adopted as our reform position??

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Re: Want to Let the NCAA Know How You REALLY Feel?

Post by Stonehouse on Wed Nov 14, 2007 2:25 pm

Great sleuthing, UPSF.

Here's what I don't understand. According to Kristin Fasbender from the NCAA, they cannot look at any other factors other than travel. Yet according to this:

31.1.3.2.1: "The following criteria are to be used in the evaluation of sites for all competition in NCAA championships:

"(a) Quality and availability of the facility and other necessary accommodations;

"(b) Revenue potential (e.g., a financial guarantee or guideline that ensures fiscal responsibility and is appropriate for the particular event, as recommended by the governing sports committee and approved by the Championship/Competition Cabinet;

"(c) Attendance history and potential;

The bold emphasis is mine.

Now, to directly quote Fasbender:

It isn't like the committee sits down and says, 'Portland is going to bring in X number of dollars.' We don't have that leverage sitting in that room. …That's not one of the rules that we're able to look at.

But according to Bylaw 31.1.3.2, potential revenue and attendance history are specifically mentioned as one of the criterea that are suppose to be used for all NCAA championships.

I realize that this clause

The division championships committees may assign specific priorities to these criteria for their respective championships.

allows the selection committee to designate the 350-mile radius rule as the top priority, but unless Graham Hays totally misquoted her, it sounds to me like Fasbender is definitely bending the truth when she says that potential revenue, attendance history, etc. are rules that they are "not allowed" to look at. Sorry, but that's bogus. They are definitely allowed to, but they have chosen for whatever reason to make geography the be-all and end-all of the decision.

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Re: Want to Let the NCAA Know How You REALLY Feel?

Post by UPSoccerFanatic on Wed Nov 14, 2007 3:23 pm

If the Championship Committee wants to designate priorities among the factors they are required to consider, they are required to publish the priorities in the Championship Handbook. Here are the provisions of the Handbook that address this issue:

Division I Women's Soccer Championship Handbook

"General Requirements. All games will be played at sites and times determined by the NCAA Division I Women's Soccer Committee. .... All rounds of the championship (except the semifinals and final) will be conducted on the campus of one of the participating institutions.

"To assist the committee in selecting sites, an evaluation will be made of institutional facilities to determine if they are acceptable for championship play.

"....

"In addition to the quality and availability of facilities, the Division I Women's Soccer Committee applies the selection criteria to assist in determining the host sites. ....

"....

"The Division I Women's Soccer Committee prefers for games to be played on grass fields 70 yards x 115 yards and larger, but will not preclude artificial turf (if approved by FIFA) in the event of inclement weather."

The Handbook provisions that deal with geographic location are in the "Pairings" part of the handbook, which is as follows:

"Pairings

[Reference: Bylaw 31.1.3 in the NCAA Division I Manual.]

"The top 16 teams adentified by the committee will be seeded in the bracket. The seeded teams will all be at separate first and second round sites. The committee has been given approval by the Championships Competition Cabinet to place the top 16 seeds in pods of four. There will be four number ones, four number twos, four number threes, and four number fours. The remaining 48 teams will be paired geographically. First-round conference matchups will be avoided. The committee will use www.mappoint.msn.com when establishing the mileage for travel. Teams within 350 miles of each other will be required to drive."

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Re: Want to Let the NCAA Know How You REALLY Feel?

Post by ejjqb on Wed Nov 14, 2007 3:45 pm

Seems to me that someone who has Buzz Stroud's ear could present the facts uncovered by UPSoccerFanatic for his comments. There are too many "stories" coming out of the NCAA committee for any logical person to be happy. He clearly claimed to be hamstrung by the rules of the process that absolutely restricted the Pilots from hosting.

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Re: Want to Let the NCAA Know How You REALLY Feel?

Post by UPSoccerFanatic on Wed Nov 14, 2007 4:27 pm

I think there's another more immediate fish to fry. Go back and read the rules carefully, not with an eye to where the first/second round games should be but with an eye to whether the higher seeded team is guaranteed home games for the third round and quarter-finals. I think it is pretty clear that the higher seeded team is not guaranteed home games. The Tournament Committee can give them a "bonus" in the site selection process, but it also must give consideration to a bunch of other factors, based on how the two site choices compare in relation to those factors.

I think the next step in this battle should be to push very hard, if the Pilots and UCLA get to the quarters, to get the Tournament Committee to consider scheduling the game here. The chances of being successful at that, of course, are very minimal, but if U of P uses that part of the process as an opportunity to make a stink about the treatment it has received, it might have a long-term benefit in pushing towards getting first/second round games here regardless of geographical constraints.

I actually think, by the way, that if the Tournament Committee in good faith and with integrity follows the rule on later round site selection, it very well could put quarter-final games here notwithstanding a higher seeded opponent if we have a seed but had to travel for the first/second rounds. Let's not let the Committee get away with applying the rules when they favor schools in the more highly populated areas and with ignoring the rules when they help schools in less populated areas.

Maybe one of you who corresponds with Hays could send him the information about the rules and suggest he write an article saying the NCAA should put the quarters here.

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Re: Want to Let the NCAA Know How You REALLY Feel?

Post by paolo on Wed Nov 14, 2007 4:32 pm

Do The Math !!!!

Flight Rd. Trip to Portland From Denver
Player/Coaches 50 $218.00 $10,900.00
Rooms 25 $200.00 $5,000.00
Flight Rd. Trip to Portland From Hawaii
Player/Coaches 23 $393.00 $9,039.00
Rooms 12 $200.00 $2,400.00
Total Expenses $27,339.00

Gate 4-games at UofP $88,500.00 85% $75,225.00

Total Difference $47,886.00


Flight Rd. Trip to Denver From Portland
Player/Coaches 25 $218.00 $5,450.00
Rooms 12 $200.00 $2,400.00
Flight Rd. Trip to Denver From Hawaii
Player/Coaches 23 $465.00 $10,695.00
Rooms 12 $200.00 $2,400.00
Total Expenses $20,945.00

Gate 4-games at Denver $13,500.00 85% $11,475.00

Total Difference -$9,470.00

Left on the table !!!!! $38,416.00

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