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College Hockey:
NCAA presidents nix plan to hold Division III championship game at Philadelphia Frozen Four

The NCAA Division III Presidents Council has put an end to plans to hold the 2014 Division III men’s championship game in Philadelphia in concert with the Division I men’s Frozen Four.

The council on Tuesday defeated the proposal, which had been approved by the hockey and championships committees and the management council.

It cited the effect on season length and whether the idea fit into the Division III philosophy. The presidents weren’t ready to commit to a general combined championship approach, according to NCAA.org, because the model hasn’t been studied.

The change would have extended the season three weeks for the final two teams and an extra week for the semifinalists. [Also see: Men’s Division III title game planned to coincide with Philadelphia Frozen Four in 2014 (Aug. 20, 2012)]

Combining championships is far from unheard of in NCAA circles. Since 2003, the men’s lacrosse championships for all three divisions have taken place in the same city. The playing seasons are more aligned in lacrosse, however.

And in 2013, the Divisions II and III men’s basketball championships will be played in the same city as the Division I Final Four, Atlanta.

The basketball change, however, is a one-year event to celebrate the 75th anniversary of men’s basketball championships.

“There’s only one chance to celebrate a 75th anniversary,” presidents council chair Jim Schmotter of Western Connecticut State told NCAA.org. “But while the hockey proposal was couched as a one-year trial, there was a sense that the intended outcome was for a multiple-year or even permanent commitment down the road. Our members weren’t ready to sign that contract.”

Organizers with the Philadelphia Frozen Four bid had already signed off on the idea, which was to hold the Division III championship game on the day between the Division I semifinals and final.

“With certain sports that the NCAA has done this with, it has been a win-win,” Bruce Delventhal, athletic director at Plattsburgh and then the chair of the Division III men’s hockey committee, told USCHO in August.

Extending the length of the season seemed to be one of the biggest sticking points, and the defeat of the proposal puts back on the table a potential change for the season start date.

A proposal calls for setting the first date of competition as Nov. 1; the NCAA currently allows practice and competition to start Oct. 15. That proposal was going to be taken off the table if the presidents approved the championship change, but it is again scheduled to be acted on at the 2013 NCAA Convention.


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