Regional realignment coming

In men's basketball, Rose-Hulman is a member of the Midwest Region.
In women's basketball, Rose-Hulman is in the Great Lakes Region.
In baseball, Rose-Hulman is in the Mideast Region. Get the picture? Baseball won't be affected in this process, but several other sports will be.
Rose-Hulman athletics photos

By Dave McHugh
D3sports.com

It looks like the much-talked about regional realignment is nearly here. For two years, there has been serious conversations and the exercise of realigning the regions in Division III.

The reasons are understandable: Some sports are growing (i.e. lacrosse) and need more regions, many regions had become uneven, and with the shuffling of conferences some institutions shifted regions accordingly or didn’t at all.

According to documents obtained by D3sports.com, these were the guidelines recommended to the Division III Championships Committee:

  • Keeping conferences consolidated within a single region
  • Establishing more uniform regional nomenclature
  • Considering equitable numbers among regions as much as possible

The last reason was based on not only a competitive-equality point of view, according to the documents, but also the workload for regional advisory committees and postseason awards.

However, clearly the committee ran into a problem when going with the numbers-first approach. New England and the Northeast Region was clearly a focus and one that showed the biggest problems. In trying to move teams out of that region and into the Atlantic or East Regions one of the recommendations was going to be broken: keeping conferences intact. Many conferences in New England are spread out over the entire region and that would have meant some institutions could be in the East or Atlantic while never playing anyone from that region other than its fellow conference members.

In information from the Division III Championships Committee obtained by D3sports.com and in conversations with those familiar with the process, the idea of moving teams and conferences in New England created more problems than it solved. So the numbers-first approach was some what abandoned for a hybrid approach that dealt with geography issues rather than just numbers issues. For example, the University Athletic Association and Great South Athletic Conference were given exemptions from having all of its members in one region due to the fact the institutions that make up these conferences are spread out over such a wide geographic area.

Now regional realignment has been approved by the Championships Committee for men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s golf, women’s lacrosse, men’s and women’s soccer, softball, and women’s volleyball to go into effect for the 2014-15 academic year pending approval from the Division III Management Council.

Per basketball, here are the changes for conferences and individual schools set to be approved by the Management Council and the President’s Council. The Midwest Region would be renamed the Central Region.

Men’s Basketball
Current Region
Proposed Region
Allegheny Mountain College Conference Multi-Region Great Lakes
Colonial States Athletic Conference Mid-Atlantic Atlantic
Colorado College West South
Finlandia
West Central
Freedom Conference (MAC) Mid-Atlantic Atlantic
Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Midwest Great Lakes
North Eastern Athletic Conference Multi-Region East
U.S. Merchant Marine Academy Atlantic Mid-Atlantic
Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference West Central
  • The AMCC will be consolidated into the Great Lakes Region effective 2013-14.
  • The HCAC now joins the Great Lakes. The conference is already in the Great Lakes in women's basketball.
  • Merchant Marine was the only member of the Landmark Conference not in the Mid-Atlantic Region.
Women’s Basketball
Current Region
Proposed Region
Allegheny Mountain College Conference Multi-Region Great Lakes
Capital Athletic Conference Multi-Region Mid-Atlantic
Colonial States Athletic Conference Mid-Atlantic Atlantic
Colorado College West South
Freedom Conference (MAC) Mid-Atlantic Atlantic
Landmark Conference Multi-Region Mid-Atlantic
North Eastern Athletic Conference Multi-Region East
Pine Manor South East
Trinity (D.C.) South Atlantic
  • The Capital Athletic Conference, which is primarily in the Atlantic, moves to the Mid-Atlantic, where the men have been for nearly 20 years.
  • Like the CAC, the Landmark Conference was split into two regions and now joins the men in the Mid-Atlantic.

Among other sports, women's lacrosse is undergoing a big change as well. The New York Region will be rebranded the East, as it is in most other sports, and the Metro Region will be renamed and split. Here are the other changes:

Women's Lacrosse Current Region
Proposed Region
Baldwin Wallace
West
Mid-South
Bryn Athyn Metro
Mid-Atlantic
Capital Athletic Conference South Atlantic
Mid-Atlantic
Colonial States Athletic Conference Metro
Mid-Atlantic
Commonwealth Conference (MAC)
Metro
Mid-Atlantic
Defiance West
Mid-South
Franciscan West
Mid-South
Freedom Conference Metro
Mid-Atlantic
Huntingdon South Atlantic
Mid-South
Landmark Conference Metro Mid-Atlantic
Mount Union West Mid-South
North Coast Athletic Conference Metro Mid-Atlantic
Old Dominion Athletic Conference South Atlantic Mid-Atlantic
Otterbein West Mid-South
Rowan Metro East
Rutgers-Camden Metro East
St. Vincent West Mid-South
Skyline Conference Metro East
Southern Athletic Association West Mid-South
The College of New Jersey Metro East
Thiel Metro Mid-South
Transylvania South Atlantic Mid-South
USA South Athletic Conference South Atlantic Mid-South
Washington and Jefferson West Mid-South
Waynesburg West Mid-South
Wilmington West Mid-South

In men's and women's soccer, the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference will be consolidated into one region, the Great Lakes, while the North Eastern Athletic Conference will consolidate into Mid-Atlantic Region. Men's lacrosse will remain in two regions. Other sports that will see minor changes include men's and women's golf, men's and women's cross country, and women's volleyball, while softball will see several multi-region conferences consolidated into one region apiece.

This may not be the end of regional realignment this time around. While the Championships Committee did approve this plan earlier this month, they have requested any sport committees that did not provide any recommendations the first time around to agree to this plan or submit their suggestions.

The Championship Committee will then finalize it in March before it is sent to the Management Council for approval in April.