The current format scheduled for the NCAA DIII Men’s and Women’s Soccer Championship is simply ridiculous and crazy. The NCAA is not allowing a rest day between the semifinal and final matches. Why is the NCAA treating DIII differently than D!? There should be no bias regarding a players’ health and safety, especially from the NCAA. Each division is competitive in its own nature. But, truthfully, it is all about the money.
The semifinals and finals of the NCAA DIII Men’s and Women’s Soccer Championship were scheduled to be played less than 24hours of each game. Therefore, the turnaround time for the championship game after the semis would be less than 18 hours to play the final. According to the NCAA sport science recommendations, this goes against scheduling semifinals and finals based on minimum rest and recovery.
The United Soccer Coaches sent a letter to the NCAA Director, Dr. Mark Emmert, pleading to change the schedule to add a rest day after the semifinals going into the final matches. The United Soccer Coaches even offered to pay $20,000 for the unanticipated changes and expenses. However, even after their plea, the director still denied their request.
Lynn Berling-Manuel, the CEO of United Soccer Coaches, said this result will have an adverse effect pertaining to the health and safety of the players. It is going to create a sour unflattering experience. She said that the United Soccer Coaches association puts the safety of the players first. She also commented that the NCAA must put the health and safety of the DIII players first to create a better experience for all.
The full letter that was written to the NCAA can be seen here. Also, several other NCAA coaches are championing and supporting the change. It does not matter the division. There is no need to treat the safety of the players any differently.
Several NCAA coaches are championing and supporting the change. They all agree that managing costs and finances should never be above a players’ safety and health, no matter the division. There is no need to treat the safety of the players any differently because one division is higher than the other.
Aliceann Wilbur, DIII Head Women’s Soccer Coach at Hobart and William Smith College, says she is frustrated by the NCAA’s inability to maintain its mission for an athlete’s health and wellbeing. She further states that the NCAA Sports Science shows the importance of rest and recovery between matches. She cannot believe that the NCAA puts managing costs and expenses over the quality of DIII student-athletes.
Anson Dorrance, DI head coach at UNC Women’s Soccer, says, why would anyone, especially the NCAA, think DIII athletes’ health is not important.
Dr. Jay Martin, DIII, the Head Coach at Ohio Wesleyan, says D1 and DIII are all athletes playing the same game. Furthermore, he says why is there a big difference in perception between divisions? If DI needs 24 hours to recover, then so does DIII. It is an interesting point by Dr. Jay Martin. Does that mean DIII is more athletic than DI needing less rest?
This is not the first time the NCAA has shown inequality. However, they have shown massive gender inequality over the years. The NCAA spends more money on male athletes than females. This is in reference to championships seen as revenue, especially in basketball.
In any event, the NCAA needs to act swiftly. Profit or revenue cannot blind reality and create inequality. The health and safety of any human being or player is a must. Under NCAA DIII, Priority Initiatives, it says, “Enhance the well-being of prospects, student-athletes, and staff.”
It seems like the NCAA likes to create legislation and rules for all, but applying them equally is a different story. Money seems to be the priority over health, safety, and gender.