THE FOllowing was written by brandon meisel, with kevin bailey as a co-author:
Brandon Meisel: Rule changes are meant to spark conversation, it is good for the league. However, what is not good for the league is when people start attacking one another in the comments section, just because they have opposing viewpoints. If after reading this article you still do not agree with our logic, that is fine. Not everyone will always have the same opinion on things. This article is meant to open your eyes on a few topics of a rule change that you may have not thought about otherwise. The rule I am referring to is of course the reducing of roster sizes down to 12 v 12. Before you close this article out, give it a chance. It may change your mind on a few things that Kevin Bailey and I would like you to consider.
Kevin Bailey: Alright, I will start by stating that I have warmed up to the idea of reduced roster size over the past year or two. I acknowledge all the good things that it will bring to the league, and my hope is that the positives do outweigh the potential negatives. With that said, I have a few concerns with this rule, and would like to state them. It is only right for us to take a look at both sides of every argument before making a decision.
BM: To start, I will first list the bullet points I agree with Felix on, then I will list the bullet points where we disagree, and Kevin interjects his opinions along the way.
“Easier for new teams to enter the league.” BM: To this point, I must agree. Some teams, like Ohio, have had tremendous success recruiting players while they are just starting out. To that, I must commend them. This, however, is not always possible for other teams to achieve. If teams are allowed to field only 8 people instead of 10, and only take 2 cars to haul everyone around in, then this should allow for more teams being able to join the league. Therefore, helping our league expand.
“More points scored” BM: I agree with this is for logical reasons. With less people on the court you have less people to eliminate, and teams will get on the 10 count a lot quicker. Therefore, points will be taken quicker, and more points are able to be played in the 50 minutes of game time.
“Reducing the overall cost.” BM: Again, I agree with this for logical reasons. With less people to travel with, board, feed, and cloth, the overall costs throughout the league will decrease.
“More competitive games.” BM: This is where our agreement stops. Felix first numbers out the amount of players there are with skill sets from great, to not so great. For most teams, I would say these are reasonable numbers. His reasoning, however, states that reducing the amount of bad players you have will make your team better. To this, I must disagree. Why you ask? What do “bad” players actually do while they are on the court? For most teams the answer would be that they just stand on the back line and try to not get hit. Very rarely do you have one of your not so great players try to push up and lead your team. Often enough, “bad” players are one of the first players to get out, and because of this they have very little effect on the game. Thus, they do not actually diminish the quality of competition, and taking them out of the game would do very little to add to the quality of competition.
KB: Teams going defunct. Without a doubt this is the most severe issue with this proposal… by a landslide. We need to realize that dropping roster size, it puts teams at a much larger risk to go defunct. Transition of power is already a difficult thing for some established teams, and this will only complicate that situation. Dropping a “full” roster from 20 to 15 is a major change. People need to understand how much this puts teams at a larger risk to go defunct.
BM: Most teams around the league have what, maybe like 25-30 people in their club? A few years after changing this rule the club sizes will start to decrease. This is purely due to the fact that not as many people will have the chance to play on the varsity level, and you will read our reasoning on why JV teams would not increase as many people think they would. So instead of 25 members, let’s say that every club now has 20, still a solid amount with the 12 man rosters. Of those 20, you now have at least 10 (which Felix proposed) good players, that consistently make each roster. Then, of those 20 say you have 2 who have to leave the team for conflicts that arise (which happens every year). That means you’re now down to 18. For any given tournament not every guy can go, so now you’re down to 16 to choose from, and if 1 guy is injured, that makes it 15. Now, going into tournaments instead of being able to be selective of the people you put on your rosters, you have to simply get every single body that you can.
KB: Say a school with 12 players in their club, graduates 7 in one year, all of a sudden they are down to 5 players. If they have the minimum roster stated above of 8, and they lose 7 graduates, now they only have 1. What if that one person is a rookie with little experience? What if they don’t feel like being the Captain / President / everything else..? The point is, a team (even an established one) is at greater risk to fall apart with smaller number. No question.
“Easier to retain active JV teams.” BM: As we all know, college students are selfish and lazy. If they don’t think they have the chance at being on a roster 100% of the time, there is a good chance they will quit. Now, this might not be the same for every team in the league, but I know that it is extremely difficult for Michigan teams to retain JV teams because JV games are unranked (which is a nicer way to say that they really don’t mean a whole lot). Even if teams were able to have a JV team at the beginning of the year, by the end of the year their JV teams would diminish in size due to the natural loss of players every team faces, and due to the fact that their games really stand for nothing in the grand scheme of things. Even if you do believe that their games mean a lot, that still doesn’t deny from the fact that JV teams naturally fade away every season.
KB: The JV theory… I want everyone to understand that club numbers will naturally hover near the number of roster spots are available. That’s the first point. Just because we have 3 less spots on varsity, doesn’t mean those remaining three will all stick around and not make varsity rosters and be fine with it. A lot of people (not all) tend to leave if they don’t see varsity playing time. So we can’t just assume JV numbers will be there.
Second point on JV teams: it is very misinterpreted to think that now that rosters have 3 less people we will all of a sudden make JV a priority. JV teams aren’t just going to start popping up around the country. And even if teams do have the numbers to fill out a JV roster, what makes you think any team will now start to make JV games a priority? Are teams all of a sudden going to set aside more gym time at tournament just for JV games? I think it will remain the way it is right now, where some teams like JMU, GVSU, Towson, periodically make gym time available to set up a JV match, but besides that, it won’t turn into a league-wide thing. Dropping the roster from 15 to 12 will not magically make everyone have full JV squads and travel them to tournaments to compete consistently. Chances are, as we decrease roster size by 20%, club’s across the country will see an equal 20% drop in membership due to what I stated above.
KB: I acknowledge that it will be easier to start new teams now with 12 player rosters, but there is also a risk of us losing teams that we already have. This is just a pessimistic view, but bottom line is that people need to educate themselves on this issue.We want to make the NCDA better. As I mentioned, I like that this will theoretically help in league growth. I like that it will speed up the game, and become a better quality of dodgeball. But it will also drop club membership by 20%, and cause teams to go defunct at a higher rate, while having minimal effect on JV participation in my estimation.
There are many positive effects of the decreased roster, but there are also some unintended consequences. We need to weigh our options, and make sure this is worth the risks. What a shame it would be if we went to this format, and it didn’t make the difference between some kid making a club and not making a club (so no benefit there), and also ended up causing a storied and established program like MSU or OSU to go defunct (cough, OSU graduated 7 people last year alone, they would have been at risk). I want the 12 v 12 to work out perfectly for us, but these are risks we need to consider.