Time for a d2 selection process

I believe it’s time that D2 wakes up and follows its big brother with a selection process to move up and/or play at that level!!!

D2 is following the rankings protocol of D1, yet ANY TEAM can simply declare as D2. Not everyone should play that level! And as in many cases it’s how schools pull kids in with the classification of “D2”.

Time for a selection committee and not just the d2 panal saying we have X amount of new teams

Sorry, but I disagree completely. D1 should be what every program aspires to be, but the D2 and D3 ranks are where you cut your teeth and develop a division one program. There is a lot more to it than just a product on the ice. A lot of D2 teams already adhere to D1 guidelines in preparation of potentially moving up once they are ready. Doesn’t seem wise to undercut 100+ programs and create new prerequisites to move to D2. just my opinion…

1 Like

some schools don’t want to move to D1. Any team starting up can simply declare and then do as they wish at D2. Some do well, some ok, some fold within a few years.

Indiana Tech was a perfect example of a first year team going D1. Selection process was key. There D3 fielded less then 15 players that first season. They put there program in line and didn’t over shoot. But was part of the selection process when they applied.

Lots of JOKE D1 teams “Arkansas, Slippery rock, ect” wouldn’t say that’s what everyone aspires to. Just my opinion.

The point here is somebody should look at these teams declaring for each level and make sure that move makes sense to the program, there players, and opponents. Right now it’s fill a form out and say here ya go.

I’m new to ACHA hockey so could you please explain what guidelines D1 has that D2 does not?

I wouldn’t call Arkansas a joke M1 team. A joke that they’re in the Western CHL, maybe, but they’re solidly in the mid-range of the M1 field and have regulation wins over two ranked M1 teams so far this season.

I will start by saying I am no expert, this is info I have gathered from my own program’s research into the matter.

Eligibilty requirements is the first big difference that comes to mind. I believe at the D1 level a student athlete must be enrolled and pass 12 credits/semester, D2/D3 is only 9 credits. Certain D2 programs already create their own team bylaws which require personnel to adhere to D1 eligibility standards.

Take a look at the D1 application, much of what you see is in regards to how strong a program is, not just on the ice, but their support system, facilities, financial budget, Etc. once a program has met those requirements, the program needs a majority vote from the existing D1 programs for acceptance.

My thought is, if I’m the ACHA, D1 is your flagship brand, and I want those programs that are the best run, most competitive examples.

D1 is not the flagship brand

That’s switching to the NAIA varsity division. D1 drops down a peg.

And I appreciate you seeing the point that D1 has a strict policy to make sure there programs stay relevant.

D2/D3 should look at that as an example and not simply allow a new team to declare, put it through the process and see where it goes.

Maybe they need tiers in the D2 & D3 divisions. The top teams are night and day ahead of the middle of the road programs.

I really enjoy the rumor of an entire d3 conference jumping to d2 next season. Maybe all the d3 teams will move up and we can drop d3 all together. Who decides that an entire conference is worthy of a jump up?

My understanding is that the NAIA “division” is not really part of ACHA, but is its own thing that the ACHA has agreed to help manage in the short term in exchange for compensation for services rendered.

1 Like

D1 is the top division, there is no “takin’ her down a peg”… The NAIA, when it comes to fruition in the coming year(s), is an entirely different entity. To my understanding, the ACHA will facilitate the NAIA and the teams transitioning to the NAIA, not place it in its own division under the ACHA umbrella.

I do see your point about having a more stringent team acceptance policy, and that could be something that could be revamped, but schools new to the ACHA need somewhere to start, ya know. For instance, If there is a large population of D2 teams in the surrounding area of a new member, they shouldnt be forced to start in a different division. They should be at the D2 level so they can play a meaningful, competitive schedule without the added travel.

Just my thoughts.

D1 will drop down. The first year NAIA teams get it going, but watch the Robby Mo’s and the other stragglers start jumping ship in the coming seasons as the “varsity” division moves forward.

That means some excellent D1 programs are no more. D1 takes a BIG hit. My guess is Omron is from the Arkansas program. Congrats on a Top 30, when a few more teams move up that might turn into #25

Plus the biggest point here Omarion or whatever, the recruits will choose NAIA all day over 90% of the D1’s. Can’t argue with athletic scholarships. D1 talent pool takes a hit to some extent. So Yes d1 drops down a peg in the pecking order.

Acha D1

Even an idiot knows that. But I did forget that Wed is the biggest bar night of the yr. Drive safe O

Does the scholarship match the value they receive? Many player’s choose the school and the value of the education and the degree that comes with it. I don’t want to disparage any of the NAIA programs because they have their place. In saying this, when interviewing candidates the school attended and the degree received carries weight. That interviewer does not care what your statistics were or whether your team was ranked or not.
Anyone choosing their school based on hockey as first priority at this level has it backwards in my opinion.

To Agent_x’s point eventually and especially if/when NAIA gains enough members to eventually pull away from the ACHA entirely (somewhere between 25-40 NAIA varsity programs) the NAIA may battle NCAA D3. In 10-20 years the college hockey landscape could be something like this:

NCAA D1 (ath scholarship)
NAIA (ath scholarship)
NCAA D3/ACHA D1 (non-athletic financial aid)

btw, there are a number of NCAA D1 and NAIA schools that don’t offer true athletic scholarship, (exh. Ivy League Schools). In the NAIA “scholarships, grants-in-aid or student loans are controlled by each institution.” Some schools offer athletic schollies similar to NCAA D1/D2 processes while others have more similarities with NCAA D3 where it’s academic and need-based grants.

Top ACHA D1 and a few D2 are closing the competition gap with NCAA D3, already. If the NAIA level develops as those first schools envision, it could be a bigger competition with the NCAA than with the ACHA. To expand on ClarkAddison’s point, the ACHA D1 has a place that the NAIA and NCAA D3 programs can’t compete with- Some players with that NCAA talent level, still choose ACHA D1 for the entire hockey+school experience, many of the ACHA D1 schools are very large and well-known (big name) schools like Oklahoma, Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa State, Rhode Island, Rutgers, Arizona, etc…also many mid-sized to large regional public universities. Some students are more attracted to the larger schools. The NAIA/NCAA D3 has a niche with smaller, close knit campuses and often religious or specialty private universities.

I think this discussion is evolving into a different topic then what I originally posted. So I won’t reply further to this post.

I do enjoy the opinions from those who responded. Some great that’s across the board even if I don’t agree with them all personally.

All said, hockey at the college level is growing and that’s a good thing no matter what the level of play.

D2 is getting ridiculously crowded and there’s a extremely wide range of talent across the board. I hope that get looked at further down the road.

@Sheriff I know you said you were working on moving teams to their appropriate level. Could you comment on how that process is evolving?

I know there are 60ish D1 programs. Do you have numbers for how many programs are at each level? That should probably be pretty obviously pyramid shaped. Also, it would probably be useful to compare how many programs are in each of the four D2 and D3 regions.

Ok since it’s not an actual reply and just numbers here ya go.

The pyramid is not exactly a pyramid.

Number of teams by level and division.

D1 59

Total 204

Total 153

Very easy for D3 teams to simply change some paperwork around and then become D2. As I stated. VERY crowded at D2

Thanks. Looks like there’s about 75-100 too many teams at D2.

Rather than a true selection process, D2 could have strict program rules and standards, similar to the ones found in the D1 application but a notch lower. That would help limit the division to the organized programs with mid-sized budgets. ACHA D3 would be the entry level/open division for small budget programs, new programs looking to organize and grow over time.

Also it’s not as simple as just be cutting 75-100 teams. 10 or so D2s might be more appropriate at D1 or NAIA varsity then you’d figure 5-10 of the top D3 teams should move up to D2. Also, if D1 would make similar changes and hold members to the standards, you’d expect D2 would add 10-15 of the D1s coming down.

Across the levels of the ACHA there’s teams that are not remotely competitive that should move down, while other ultra-competitive D2 and D3 teams need to be moved up to D1 and D2 respectively. Also like Calvin, there’s a few D3s that should move up to D1.

But even if/when any reorganization would happen- there’s always going to be winners and losers in each, but slotting teams in the division that most matches their competitive level, organization level, university support, etc… should give more competitive balance within each division.

1 Like

Folks, I apologize for the delayed response to PC’s ask - hope all were enjoying the holiday week with a very short break from the ACHA.

This thread changed directions more than Lindsey Vonn on a downhill run. Permit me to address some of the great points raised here.

First, to address the original issue raised by AX, there is no movement to have a selection process into M2 Division, similar to our M1 Division. That does not mean it cannot occur in the future, but I just don’t see it happening anytime soon - and yes., I assure you that I am wide awake.

The real issue to be addressed is placing teams in the division that best suits each team under 3 criteria: 1) sustained talent on the ice, 2) organization, funding, & support from the university, & 3) geography. (Notice, there is no mention of size of student body at the university - many teams have proven that criteria to be irrelevant). In addition, given if you agree with our premise, size of each division becomes a non-factor - attempting to place any hard numbers on each division may become counterproductive.

If you agree that this is the central issue we have in the ACHA to increase the parity and competition at each level, then we can roll up our sleeves and attempt to find “carrots & sticks” to entice teams to move into their most “competitive” division.

Following is a break down of where the ACHA commissioners and I have discussed possible deficiencies & corrections. This is by no means a complete list or do we pretend to have all the answers. We encourage further input in this discussion in an attempt to make the ACHA Post Season & National Tournament more competitive for the teams, more exciting for the fans, & give the opportunity for more teams to enjoy the thrill of the ACHA post-season.

  1. Issue Addressed: Teams have remained in divisions based on these unique rule-sets. These unique rules have been the driving factor in why teams remain in a lower division in many circumstances.
    Action: Standardize the rule-set for all divisions for eligibility and eliminate special divisional rules (i.e. The no play on Sunday rule).
    Results thus far: Calvin College, NYU applied and were accepted to M1. Several more top M2 teams are considering the move in the near future.

  2. Issue: The ACHA has geographic black holes in organization of the divisions. For example:1) New England only has an M2 presence despite dozens of teams in close proximity at various competitive levels, 2) New York has an incredibly weak M1 & very strong M3 presence with very few M2 teams, 3) CA has only an M2 presence with some conferences very weak, 4) FL is a small island of excellence at M2 & M3 & 5) ACHA presence in MN is anemic. Obviously, there are other geographic pockets nationally that have inconsistencies, but these are the areas we are attempting to address at a macro level.
    Action: Develop strategic plan to address these areas of concern & communicate the benefits to conferences and teams.
    Results: Plans have been developed, discussed, & are currently being worked for NE & NY. With any luck, you will see some results/movement in these geographic areas announced in the near future.

  3. Issue: Mutiple teams from same university in same division.
    Action: New registration procedures next season will preclude the ACHA universities from having multiple teams in the same division. Teams (and historical files) will be identified by university and division.
    Results: The following teams have adjusted: 1) Aquinas & LTU will move up to NAIA division, 2) Calvin College will move to M1, 3) Adrian (Gold) will move to M2.

  4. Issue: Too many independent teams. Independent teams require more ACHA oversight, tend to be slower to register, pay fees or fines, & have a greater tendency to forfeit than those teams that are in a conference.
    Action: Created auto-bids for M2 conferences with 8 teams and in “good standing”. Also examining other incentives and disincentives to move teams into conferences and reduce the independent population.
    Results: Reduced independent population by more than 30% in M2.

  5. Issue: ACHA incentives and disincentives that encourage teams to remain in a division that is antithetical to their competitive level. As with rule-sets, we have to understand the drivers that incentivize teams to remain in conferences and divisions where they may not be competitive or are dominant.
    Action: Two-way communication is the key here. Several methods to communicate: 1) Better communication from our commissioners in the form of newsletters and through the website, 2) Reaching out to players, coaches, conference commissioners, and long time volunteers to the ACHA, 3) Social media, such as Twitter, Facebook, national media, or this blog, 4) We set up a strategic committee of coaches from diverse backgrounds, divisions, and geographic areas to identify issues that include registration, eligibility, rankings, geographic and divisional challenges, fairness, incentives, disincentives, ACHA communication, etc. - basically issues that may surface on this website, in locker rooms, or on university campuses. In short, a committee of coaches that can propose changes to the ACHA leadership from the grass roots.
    Results: An increase in awareness of what the ACHA is attempting to accomplish in 3-5 years, while soliciting input and feedback from as many ACHA sources as possible. We may not solve all the issues of all our members, and we will make mistakes. However, we will continue to work hard to improve the professional experience of our collegiate student-athletes. Please keep the dialogue, feedback, criticism, and locker room chatter coming.