August 16, 2001

NCAA baseball committee to delay regional host selections

Aug. 13, 2001

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - The Division I Baseball Committee has decided to delay by six days the selection of host regional sites, beginning with the 2002 championship.

Seeking to protect the integrity of the bracket and seeding, the committee made the change during its annual meeting July 14-18 in Avon, Colorado.

Previously, 16 teams were awarded host duties for a regional along with a bid to the tournament one week before the rest of the 64-team field was named. But the committee discussed the importance of hosting regionals and agreed that delaying site selection until team selection weekend provides the committee with more information.

"This is something that works both ways," said Wally Groff, director of athletics at Texas A&M University, College Station, and newly reelected chair of the committee. "Teams knocked out in the first two games of their conference tournament might play themselves out of a host opportunity, but teams also could play themselves in by performing well that last week. We thought this was a fairer way of determining something that important. "

Next year's regional sites will be announced May 26.

The committee also discussed the possibility of a best-of-three championship final at the Men's College World Series beginning in 2003 that would replace the one-game showdown used the last 14 years.

ESPN's recent television agreement with the NCAA extends 11 years beginning in September 2002 and hands the cable sports network the entire Men's CWS telecast. CBS has broadcast two games each year -- including the championship game -- since gaining the rights in 1988.

"That (change) is a possibility, although we have not made the final determination," said Groff.

Groff did indicate, though, that the committee is looking at a 4-2-4-2 double-elimination format, with four teams in the regionals, two in the super regionals, four in each bracket of the CWS and two in the championship round.

With the new agreement, the committee reviewed the potential use of all ESPN properties to promote not only the Men's CWS, but also the Home Run Challenge and associated activities. The committee is especially interested in finding ways to enhance the format of the Home Run Challenge and increase its television appeal.

In other actions, Dave Yeast reported to the committee on the Baseball Umpire Improvement Program and his hopes that all conferences may form a training system for the development of young umpires.

Regarding officials, the committee agreed to provide coaches the opportunity to evaluate umpires during the regionals, super regionals and Men's CWS. It also clarified that the policy prohibiting redlining, scratching and hand-picking umpires by coaches applies to both conference and nonconference games.

The committee discussed the umpire selection process and agreed that there are no geographical representation requirements for umpires serving in the championship. The committee will continue to seek nominations from conferences for postseason umpires, but noted it is not required to take the nominations in any specific order.

Finally, the committee reviewed several concerns from coaches who participated in the 2001 Men's CWS. Those concerns included:

  • Shortening the opening ceremonies.

  • Making sure Omaha team hotels have ESPN2 in the rooms, so teams may view all games of the series.

  • Increase super regional practice sessions from 75 minutes to 2 hours -- a change that will go into effect in 2002.

  • A proposal to create a four-day regional (the committee voted to retain the three-day format).

  • A proposal to seed more than eight teams (the committee noted the Division I Championships/Competition Cabinet is reviewing all bracket and seeding procedures).

    Other highlights
    Division I Baseball Committee
    July 14-18/Avon, Colorado

  • Heard a report from Dave Keilitz, executive director of the American Baseball Coaches Association, discussing bat testing and the desire to find a faster, cheaper testing method. Keilitz also discussed the implementation of ball testing and stressed adherence to ball specifications for the 2002 season.

  • Reviewed amateurism and deregulation issues and their effect on college baseball. Keilitz informed the committee that a panel headed by Bud Selig, commissioner of Major League Baseball, is studying several issues regarding the major league draft.

  • Reviewed use of the Rating Percentage Index and emphasis on its place as a "tool" in the selection process. The committee noted the continued difficulty of the selection process and scheduled an additional day for 2002 session, which takes place May 25-26. The bracket announcement is May 27 on ESPN.

  • Reviewed a report from CWS Inc., including discussion of a $1 increase in ticket prices for 2002, along with a new charge of $8 for parking at Rosenblatt Stadium.

  • Considered an improvement plan for Rosenblatt Stadium by 2002 that includes an increase in the distance of the power alley fences from 360 to 370 feet and an increase in the left and right field wall height from 6 to 8 feet. Wooden chairs in the reserved seating sections will be replaced, general admission areas in the outfield will be completely renovated and a new reserved seat section will be constructed down the right field line.

  • Agreed to review with CWS Inc., the quality of the team hotels, use of the new video board and corporate partner activity -- especially product sampling.

  • Approved the same 30 conferences for 2002 automatic qualification.

  • Reviewed use of the CWS Room, the committee meeting room, the Stadium View Club and other Rosenblatt Stadium areas for VIP seating and entertainment during the series.

  • Acknowledged Creighton University's contributions as host for the series, for which the committee voted to increase the school's honorarium.