NCAA re-draws regional maps - ACU Sports
New Regional Maps
Regional maps for Division II have been redrawn for 2011-12 and again for 2012-13 to accommodate the new Great American Conference.
The Division II Management Council approved the changes at its April 18-19 meeting in Indianapolis. The Division II Championships Committee had recommended the modifications.
Effective in 2011-12, the Great American Conference (composed of institutions in Arkansas and Oklahoma) will be placed in the South Central Region, along with the Lone Star and Heartland Conferences and the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association. As a new conference, the Great American Conference will be eligible only for at-large selections in 2011-12.
Effective in 2012-13, the Great American and the MIAA will join the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference in the Central Region, and the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference will move to the South Central Region with the Heartland and Lone Star Conferences. By 2013-14, the Great American Conference will be eligible for automatic qualification.
“During our deliberations, we considered three models,” said Bill Fusco, chair of the Championships Committee and athletics director at Sonoma State. “We considered a number of factors in totality rather than as stand-alone items. However, at no time did we consider competitive factors, such as the historical or perceived strength of conferences.”
Those factors included:
• Conference membership and location of institutions.
• Number of institutions in each region (to ensure fair access ratios to championships).
• Geographic size of each region.
• Possible future growth of new conferences.
• Maintaining no more than three automatic-qualification conferences per region.
• Transition time for institutions to adjust or begin scheduling institutions in their new regions.
Fusco noted that the realignment will be especially helpful in shortening travel distances in the affected regions.
“In these difficult economic times, we're pleased that these new alignments will actually reduce travel in our two regions in the Midwest,” Fusco said. “We did consider an approach that would have reduced travel even more in those areas, but the model that was accepted did the best job of balancing the number of teams, protecting championship-access ratios and tightening the distance between schools within the regions.”
Division II Management Council chair Rick Cole, athletics director at Dowling, said the process of accommodating the new conference was consistent with previous practice.
“There was ample time for the membership to comment and to offer suggestions and feedback,” Cole said. “Regionalization was discussed at a Convention education session. In short, the approach was similar to the one we have used for the last 5, 10 or 20 years.”
The Championships Committee also added a regionalization principle to clarify that teams in the Atlantic and East Regions will be able to consider games against the University of District of Columbia as in-region contests. District of Columbia will join the East Coast Conference this fall after having been an independent.
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Craft Signs with Hoggies - TAMK Volleyball
Texas A&M-Kingsville volleyball coach Tanya Allen announced Lakeshia Craft has signed to become the fourth member of the 2011 recruiting class.
Craft, a 6-1 middle blocker from Pflugerville, TX, is a transfer from Blinn College. She was a two-time first team all-conference and all-Region XIV performer. She was named to the COBRA Magazine All-National Second Team in 2009 after finishing 19th in the nation in attack percentage (.410). She led the Lady Buccaneers to a 2008 NJCAA National Championship and was honored with the Miller Orthopedics “Stop the Damage” Award and named to the all-tournament team. She earned second team all-district honors as a senior at Connally High School.
“Lakeshia (Craft) is an extremely athletic and a skilled volleyball player, but more importantly, she has been involved in great volleyball,” said Allen. “With a national championship at Blinn College under her belt, I know she won't shy away from the tough competition in the Lone Star Conference.”
Craft joins Kalinda Graves, Sarah Fountain and Kelsey Washington in the Javelina recruiting class.
“I have been able to work with Kalinda (Graves) for the last two years, and she has improved tremendously,” said the coach. “She is extremely athletic and will give us some defensive options in the back row.”
“Sarah (Fountain) has an incredible amount of potential,” added Allen. “She is a versatile athlete and is capable of being not only a great setter, but a "go-to" attacker on the right side.”
“Kelsey (Washington) has a great vertical and a very fast arm,” said Allen. “I am excited about the offense that she brings to the table. Her natural athleticism and positive attitude will be extremely beneficial to the program.”
Allen believes that all four players can make an immediate impact upon the Javelina program.
Abilene High's Aguirre signs with ACU baseball - Sam Waller, Abilene Reporter News
Abilene High School senior Gibson Aguirre will continue his baseball career in his hometown after signing a letter of intent Tuesday with Abilene Christian University.
Aguirre, a two-year starter at catcher and three-year letterman, said the Wildcats were a good fit on several levels.
"It's an awesome baseball program and being able to stay home and play in front of my family for four more years is a great privilege," said Aguirre, who also considered Hardin-Simmons, McMurry and Lubbock Christian. "Just being able to have the opportunity to go there and play at home, it was easy there."
The possibility of ACU making a move to NCAA Division I in the future also was an attraction, Aguirre said.
"That's definitely a big plus, that I could be a D-I baseball player by possibly my junior or senior year there," he said.