The proposal to align the Division III men’s national championship game with the weekend of the Frozen Four in 2014 has drawn both support and concerns from the NCAA Division III Championships Committee.
The group has asked the Division III Men’s Ice Hockey Committee to adjust the season schedule to avoid adding weeks, which could mean a later start date.
The hockey committee earlier approved the proposal that would move the championship game to the Friday between the Division I men’s national semifinals and final at the Frozen Four in Philadelphia in 2014.
But that would stretch the Division III season an extra three weeks for the final two teams and an extra week for the semifinalists.
“The Championships Committee understands the potential benefits with this proposal and likely will support it as long as it doesn’t negatively affect the length of the season,” committee chair Stuart Robinson, the athletic director at SUNY New Paltz, told ncaa.com. “The more the date formula can be adjusted to mitigate the delay at the end of the tournament, the more the proposal would align with Division III principles.”
The championships committee wants to see a new schedule format by November and also wants more details on the financial changes involved. In addition, it is suggesting the move be a one-year pilot instead of a permanent change.
The proposal cleared the NCAA’s Division I Championships/Sport Management Cabinet on Tuesday.
Instead of a schedule that would see Division III men’s first-round games played on Wednesday, March 12, quarterfinals on Saturday, March 15, semifinals on Friday, March 21 and the final on Saturday, March 22 in 2014, the proposal calls for first-round games on March 15, quarterfinals on March 22, semifinals on Saturday, March 29 and the title game on Friday, April 11.
The semifinals would be at campus sites. Since 2009, the Division III men’s championship weekend has been played at a neutral site.