I’ve updated this blog entry three times now as the story develops – see below.
According to sources, if Middlebury defeats Fredonia on Wednesday, the Panthers will HOST Mass-Dartmouth, the top seed, this weekend. However, if Fredonia wins, the Corsairs will be allowed to host.
This is beyond dumb – it’s not about the facility if UMass-Dartmouth can host Fredonia. It’s about the money. More as this develops, but if I’m John Rolli, I would be as angry as can be. Mass-Dartmouth is the top seed in the East. This is deplorable.
More as this develops.
UPDATE: Keisha Campbell, the NCAA liaison for Men’s D-III Hockey, says that the only team of the three (Fredonia, Mass-Dartmouth, Middlebury) that put in for a second round game (quarterfinal) game was Middlebury. Mass-Dartmouth put in a bid for a first round (i.e. play-in) game. This means that UMD is a victim of its own success, since it finished tops in the East Region and avoids the play-in game. It also sounds like a technicality was exploited. I am awaiting a call from someone on the committee, so more as this develops.
UPDATE II: I had a nice chat with Vincent Eruzione, AD at Curry and Chair of the Men’s D-III Ice Hockey Committee. He confirmed Ms. Campbell’s remarks that Mass-Dartmouth did not put in a bid for a second round game, but did put in for a first round game. He also said that the criteria is the same for the two rounds in terms of assessing the capabilities of a facility.
So I’m going to step back a bit from my earlier “all about the money” rant (see the title of this entry). While money (and amenities for the athletes. media and fans) comes into play in selecting a site (with the higher seed given a lot of leeway), this one came down to who put in a bid and who didn’t, and no leeway from the committee’s standpoint in terms of making a change and allowing UMD to move its bid from first round to second round.
“This happens all the time in other sports,” said Eruzione. “We can’t take one bid and transfer it to another situation. Unfortunately, we can’t make an exception.”
It’s just a shame that leeway couldn’t have been applied here. It seems to defy logic, but I’m told that rules are rules. The NCAA wants teams to put in bids, and will reward those that do.
I also asked Eruzione for more detail on the committee’s selection process and how they arrived at their picks. More on that later.
UPDATE III: Here’s the news story I did on the topic. While I probably over-reacted early on as this story develops (see above), I still think it could have been handled better. There needs to be room for common sense. When people (including me) criticize the “NCAA” we really are criticizing in many cases a collective of administrators from the various colleges, not some nameless behemoth. I know many of the committee members and know how much they love this game. In this case, I beg to differ with their approach.