Policy Proposal (defined by NCDA Policy, but not Constitutionally defined)
I propose a minimum of 3 games to be eligible to participate at Nationals.
I’ve debated proposing this but I have considered it seriously over the past four years. In one point, I wanted to wait until we were geographically ready to implement something like this. And on the other, I didn’t want to prevent teams from joining at any point in the season. We’ve had a few teams who’s induction matches have happened at a Nationals (8-9 of our 46 schools). Now, the NCDA is becoming so large and active that a team that hasn’t played much that season is a hindrance to scheduling fairly for Nationals.
I would really like to make this something like 4 or 5. But I don’t want to give those options because we are still not geographically there and a policy like that is always, forever going to be a stress on western teams. It is a fact: the opportunity for schools in the Great Plains to play another school is much less than schools that are east of the Illinois/Indiana border. I have a map that proves this. There’s mountains and great stretches of road and schools just aren’t populated enough. There’s a reason we have expanded East and not West.
This policy is directly related to our current westernmost teams, and it is those that should define what a fair minimum game count is. I’ve set this as 3 games because that’s a fair amount that can be over one event or two events. In the west, it is more likely we see a three team round robin, where a team only really get 2 games out of those. This trend is proven over seven years of records. But, in a real pinch, you can squeeze 3 games out of one event by having more teams. Ohio and the East Coast get to do this all the time because more teams are able to travel. Big events are also easier to host when you’re central to the location.
We need regular season games for each team participating at Nationals to help accurate rank teams based on their past performance, and it’s come to a logistical point where we can’t just rely solely on Saturday results of Nationals to determine Bracket seeding. Playing 10 matches will nearly erase the pre-season starting point. Past results become statistically irrelevant very quickly as you play enough matches. But playing zero doesn’t allow ratings to self adjust. Three matches is a middle ground based on the real world demands of the western teams that will never go away, and giving the system something to work with.
And another thing: this is not a minimum matches defined per season. Just the number of matches needed to participate at Nationals.