The Division III Presidents Council has voted to sponsor legislation which would cut the number of contests in most Division III sports, some by more than 10%. Aside from football and cross country, all Division III teams could see the maximum number of competitions cut by one to four dates of competition or contests.
The biggest proposed reductions in terms of number of games are for baseball and softball where a reduction from 40 to 36 contests is proposed. The biggest percentage reduction is rugby where a maximum of 13 contests are proposed, down from 15 (13.3%) followed by skiing, swimming, and wrestling where reductions from 16 to 14 dates of competition are proposed (12.5%). Basketball has a reduction of one contest proposed, from 25 to 24.
Aside from cost concerns and reducing midweek games, the rationale for the proposal offers up a very different type of arms race than the ones commonly discussed in Division I:
When it comes to contest limits, over time, maximums have become minimums and increased competitive pressures from coaches have challenged institutions to “keep up with the Joneses.” In fact, most institutions already exceed the “maximum” as conference tournaments provide up to four additional exempt contests at the end of the regular season. A division-wide approach to contest reduction can provide institutional leadership the avenue it needs to better balance its sports offerings, regardless the motivation.
While Division I is considering moves to cut back on student-athlete time demands, contest reductions seem unlikely, especially in the revenue sports. Most of the plans in Division I involve establishing dead periods and cutting back on “volandatory” extra practice time.