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Collegiate Nationals Multiple Divisions

I know a lot of ballers are collegiate skiers (Ex, current, or somehow connected to the world of collegiate 3-event) I was just curious on what the thoughts are on splitting Nationals into three divisions to keep things more competitive. As a Midwest skier the most frustrating part in my opinion is being on the bubble of D1 and D2. If you Go D1 its basically try not to get last, If you go D2 you are in the top 3 seeds typically with a good shot at winning. So I am looking for opinions on going to three divisions. Having the exact same amount of teams go (8-8-8 instead of 12-12). With the wild card show last night the divisions have been announced and a prime example is UW LAX who took 3rd in there region and went D1 and have no chance in my opinion placing any higher than 9th with all of them skiing PBs. If they went D2 they would have a good chance at winning, not an easy win but would keep the skiers competitive as a team. Now it is fun to have your 5th round slalom skier have to clarify with the boat crew that they want 32mph not 32 off as the top seeds in d1 are all starting there or shorter it does lower the drive for some of the lower seeds to ski at there best ability. Just looking for thoughts Pros and Cons of this.


  • Chef23Chef23 Posts: 6,009 Mega Baller
    Not a collegiate skier so take what I have to say with a grain of salt but I agree with @Broussard. Some teams are always going to be on the bubble. If it were me I would want my team to strive to ski in D1 and compete with the best.

    If you go to more divisions you could always go to 8 divisions of 3 and every team will get a medal. I know this is a bit flip but some team is always going to be the team on the edge. The 8th team in a 3 team structure would still not have a chance to win D1 but would be very competitive in D2.
    Mark Shaffer
  • WiscoSkierWiscoSkier Posts: 18 Baller
    @broussard I don't disagree. I skied in D1 nationals last year and had an absolute blast but as a former leader on my team I know for a fact we could have leveraged more money out of our university with a D2 national championship than we could taking 7th-12th in D1. Building the team is essential to consistently have competitive teams every year. But with the lack of 3 events lakes in the Midwest near universities, I believe the only reason many Wisconsin schools survive is the inflow of show skiers who are comfortable on the water and learn how to 3-event ski. I don't know much about texas's turnaround from 9th in D2 to to taking 7th In D1 but I do know that they can train all school year unlike the Midwest. Unfortunately we have water temps under 55 already and only going to continue to drop. Thanks for the input @broussard just trying to see how people would feel about this.
  • BroussardBroussard Posts: 423 Crazy Baller
    @WiscoSkier I admire what you guys do in the Midwest. I consider the midwest to be the strongest region by far as far as collegiate waterskiing goes. The sheer number of teams and skiers that come from your region is outstanding especially considering the short season that you face.

    Your point about being able to leverage funding by earning a d2 national championship is an interesting point that I never thought about. In my experience with big schools in south, I don't see that having any effect on funding.

    A lot of new teams struggle to survive in the south central region due to the football is king culture as well as fighting to get members to choose to go to a ski tournament instead of a football game or fraternity/sorority event.

    Kudos to the midwest for the passion and continued growth of collegiate skiing.
    Andre Broussard | SkiBama Team Captain | SkiBennetts |
  • WiscoSkierWiscoSkier Posts: 18 Baller
    @Broussard the Midwest also struggles with the football and fraternity issues.

    We also receive little to no university support (like under $2,000 a year) and your club is often fighting against other club sports to receive the limited funding from the university and I know they reward being successful. I have tried (unsuccessfully) to explain to several different school officials that a Midwest team skiing against ull or ulm would be like the club basketball team playing against LeBron James and the Lakers.

    It is what it is and as an alumni now I know the skiers will have just as much fun on and off the water no mater what division they are placed in and that's all that really matters.
  • JohnNJohnN Posts: 126 Baller
    Interesting thought. In general, more competitiveness leads to more fun so I'd have to say 3 divisions would be a good thing. I just watched @JeffSurdej video on the seeding (which was really cool!) 8-8-8 would still be lopsided at D1, but D2 and D3 would theoretically be more competitive. Really, looking at the numbers, D1 could be the 1-5 seeds, D2 6-15 and D3 16-24 to make nationals competitive on a team basis. Again, that's just from looking at the virtual tournament ranking on the presentation and not having the more in-depth knowledge of how this works in practice. I'm sure there's a reason why it's set up the way it is.
  • BroussardBroussard Posts: 423 Crazy Baller
    edited October 2018
    Maybe someone will chime in thats been around for a while. To my knowledge, when collegiate water skiing started there was only one national champion with a 12 team nationals. From what I can gather the two division system was implemented in 2002 creating a 20 team nationals (12 D1, 8 D2) which then became a 22 team nationals (12 D1, 10 D2) before reaching the 24 team format that we have today (12 D1, 12 D2).

    If creating another division will grow the number of skiers and teams in collegiate waterskiing as a whole, I think it's something to look into. Perhaps Ohio State and San Diego State could provide good insight. They are teams that typically win their region, but are never in contention for the national title as the regional champion is automatically placed in D1.
    Andre Broussard | SkiBama Team Captain | SkiBennetts |
  • Mateo_VargasMateo_Vargas Posts: 883 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    As a former Midwest collegiate skier who went to a couple Nationals back in the day we were just happy to extend our season for a couple more weeks, and have no curfews!
    Success is failure that just hasn't happened yet
  • lpskierlpskier Posts: 2,720 Mega Baller
    That’s where stategy comes in to play during the season. If you can’t get top three in D1, or if you’re worried about being last in D1, and those concerns are paramount for your team, make sure you plan your rosters so that you don’t qualify D1.
    John Wilkins- Si non pro sanguine quem ludus ne. #iskiconnelly
  • gregygregy Posts: 2,583 Mega Baller
    Seems like back in the day they had an A and B team at tournaments. I remember skiing at tournaments my first year but didn't go to nationals. The next year I would have gone but we just missed out. No D1 D2 back then. We always were shooting for nationals but we were competing for one spot due to ULM. Its more about participation. My first thought about 3 divisions was another everybody gets a trophy thing but it's an interesting argument getting more funding from the University.
  • JohnNJohnN Posts: 126 Baller
    Is waterskiing the only sport that breaks down the divisions by the in-season performances rather than the normal NCAA criteria?
  • lpskierlpskier Posts: 2,720 Mega Baller
    If your goal is to win, you need a plan. If you are not a “top tier” school, I.e., not ULM, ULF, Bama, Rollins, USF, and a couple others, it’s pretty unlikely that you will field a winning D1 team. Being a D2 Champion, to me, is a big deal (my daughter is the 2014 D2 women’s jump champ). If you are really a D2 team and you qualify D1, you are screwed if your goal is to be a champion. So if you are that team, your first step to winning is avoid D1. That seems like a pretty straightforward concept to me. @BoneHead I’m sure you are not implying that D2 skiers are midgets. Why, I know for a fact that several of those kids are well over six feet!
    John Wilkins- Si non pro sanguine quem ludus ne. #iskiconnelly
  • walleyewalleye Posts: 197 Baller
    edited October 2018
    @wiscoSkier why don't we give a trophy to every team. Better yet how about ULL, ULM & Ala mandated level 10 so others don't have to compete against them.
  • bbrannanbbrannan Posts: 17 Baller
    edited October 2018
    @Broussard As a former Ohio State skier, it is a bit frustrating being the “best of the rest” at D1 Nationals. We finished 6th in 2016, behind the perennial power 5, and received zero recognition for that accomplishment. But Miami of Ohio went home as “National Champions” for effectively placing 13th?

    To us (and every other school aside from ULM/ULL/Bama/FSC/Rollins), placing 6th is “winning” Nationals, because the top 5 are simply in a different league. If they were to split Nationals into 3 divisions, I would suggest something along the lines of 1-5/6-15/16-24. I would actually prefer a 2 division set up of 1-5/6-24, although that doesn’t make sense logistically.
  • OSUwaterskierOSUwaterskier Posts: 73 Baller
    edited October 2018
    Agree with @bbrannan

    Would really like to see a “varsity” champ and a “club” champ.
  • RazorRoss3RazorRoss3 Posts: 1,356 Mega Baller
    Sandbagging your scores to be D2 instead of D1 is cheating, no conversation needed.

    The Midwest definitely has a big issue here though, at Iowa there was a $40K "club sport budget" and 52 club sports asking for money. Successful clubs had priority and as a former leader on that team we received $500 on a good year. I don't know if we need to split the divisions any farther, certainly a Midwest team isn't competitive with the ULMs of this world, but I think the bigger issue is creating a way for teams who have made it to nationals to show the level of accomplishment that is (especially in the Midwest, what, 9 of 40 teams go) to help them leverage more funding for the accomplishment.

    Most of the skiers are thrilled to be at nationals... in fact in the Midwest you have to qualify for Regionals so that's pretty exciting in it's own right. The skiers themselves outside the die hards on the team don't care as much about how they place, getting there was the fun part, the road trip was the fun part, going somewhere warm to ski when it's wetsuit weather back home is the fun part. They do need a way to show just what level of an accomplishment getting there was though.
  • jcampjcamp Posts: 842 Mega Baller
    I would think that most Big 10 schools get pretty pumped about winning their conference in football or basketball, even if they don't win a national title. So pump the fact that you won your region, not the fact that you took 8th at D1 Nationals. I doubt most school administrators know or care about who ULM of FSC is anyway. But I bet OSU officials care about beating Michigan and vice versa.
  • JeffSurdejJeffSurdej Posts: 637 USAWS Official
    This has always been a tough situation, we have tried very hard to create an atmosphere where teams hopefully would rather get last in D1 over winning D2 but that's tough to create, who wouldn't want to say they are D2 champs. I know many in the past preferred to be on the dock with the top teams and many said they felt last in D1 was better but I don't think that holds true for all. I think this goes for any sport, even at AWSA Nationals there is quite the difference between what it takes to get to nationals vs what it takes to win and for many they simply do not attend. NCWSA is blessed to have such an atmosphere where no one simply would ever pass up the chance to go.

    Ideally NCWSA does not want to even have 2 divisions, we only did so b/c we wanted to bring more teams to Nationals but its a weird concept when you do not compete as D2 all year but then you do at Nationals, so ideally we would love a 24 team nationals and that what it is. But there is no way to finish an event in one day if you do that. I don;t like going to 3 divisions but the idea of rearranging the 2 divisions to more properly fit talent is not a bad idea but how do you do it. Scholarships is a shady road to go down as some of those top schools don't give athletic scholarships, only academic, or some in state vs out of state, it might be a logistic nightmare to monitor and regulate. And then where is the cutoff, even Rollins this year is predicted to be 5th but 3,000 out of 4th and 2,000 above 6th, so if we did something as such there will always be the bubble team.

    AWSA President
  • ForrestGumpForrestGump Posts: 6,101
    @lpskier I've driven, judged, and scored numerous collegiate and collegiate regionals tournaments. Oh and a nationals, too. When I witness a team leader coaching jumpers to miss their jump because they're in jeopardy of making it into D1, then that is a problem. And yes, this actually happened. I even had an email discussion with Jeff about it afterwards because he was the head of NCWSA at the time. I think that same team leader missed her slalom run on purpose. That type of thing is flat out cheating.
    Shane "Crash" Hill

  • spartanskier10spartanskier10 Posts: 39 Baller
    I’m a recent Midwest grad and had heard this suggested at regionals last weekend. I was shocked at he notion that teams don’t want to ski Division 1. I skied in 3 nationals for Michigan State, all D1, finishing in the bottom couple each time. But I wouldn’t change a thing! Personally, I would much rather compete with the best skiers in the world standing on the dock behind you as opposed to going at it in D2 with many of the same teams you did a weekend prior at regionals. How many times on your life will you get to say you stood on the same dock and skied in the same round as Freddie Winter, KC Wilson, etc... there's something rewarding about saying you're D1.

    As for funding, i'm not sure how it works at other schools but division would have no impact on how much we get. The school sets aside a lump some for club sports, we apply, and either get a very very small stipend or don’t.

    For me, natty’s was all about the experience. A reward for your teams success throughout the season. We knew we weren’t going to win, but we competed for ourselves, each other, and against the best in the world. Michigan State is going D2 for the first time in a 5+ years and it’ll be interesting to hear their perspectives this year. Maybe mine will change.
  • JeffSurdejJeffSurdej Posts: 637 USAWS Official
    @BoneHead is this recent b/c one change we made that seems to have helped that is that we dont determine D1,D2 from regionals scores but from all fall scores so one would have to sandbag the entire fall season to pull that off?
    AWSA President
  • unksskisunksskis Posts: 454 Solid Baller
    The idea is 12th place in D1 is more of an accomplishment than 1st place D2(13th place so to speak). The reality isn't so clear. Numerous times teams have sandbagged to fall to D2, and win Nationals. Nothing has been done about it. What this does is, as has been pointed out, allow them to go back to their Sport Club Council and show they won Nationals, receiving attention, accolades, and likely a larger budget. Doesn't hurt recruiting either, but not the kind of recruiting some of you seem to think occurs at every school.

    I like the "Varsity" vs "Club" idea. The fact is, as stated, placing 6th behind the "Varsity" schools is likely the greatest achievement, given what that team really had to accomplish.

    Collegiate skiing isn't like the other sports, and I think some people need a better understanding of exactly how it is structured at the schools, and that most of these "teams" are mere sport clubs, and one of 50+ that the school is taking care of. Resources are very limited, BigTen school or not.
  • WiscoSkierWiscoSkier Posts: 18 Baller
    edited October 2018
    @BoneHead and @jeffSurdej I know I would never have told someone to miss a jump or purposely fall on an opening pass. But when we have 3-5 show skiers that all can land jumps and one of them jumping far enough to podium (like she did the last two weekends), but they all want to go to a football game instead of a ski tournament we wouldn't put the pressure on them to come to a earlier tournament knowing that they would come to regionals.

    @walleye I am pretty sure they give every team a trophy, the banquet was a little fuzzy last year. any one that goes to the nationals banquet and sees the Midwest skiers will understand what I mean.

    As much as this pains me to say as someone who has a deep hatred for OSU and who has lost to OSU two years in a row at regionals I also agree with @bbrannan and @OSUwaterskier
  • unksskisunksskis Posts: 454 Solid Baller
    edited October 2018
    @JeffSurdej In your Rollins example, Rollins has international pro's, a coach, and ability to give scholarships of some sorts. There is no question where they should fall.
  • eleeskieleeski Posts: 3,975 Infinite Pandas
    Having been involved peripherally in a couple Collegiate Nationals, the D1/D2 break is logistically critical. We are able to include so many more teams because of the break and make the tournament manageable.

    Just what I've seen out west: Nobody wants to lose Regionals so they can go D2. Sometimes a tough tournament (we don't always ski to our potential) takes the performance incentive away from the last events - "it's a long drive home, don't risk an injury, concentrate on that homework not the tournament". I have never heard any sandbagging plans - just some consolation rationalization when things haven't gone as well as hoped.

    Every solid D1 team (a middle of the pack team) wants to be D1 - D2 is a bummer. When a solid D2 team sneaks into last place D1, they have been elated!

    College skiing changes every year (or four). Perennial bubble teams just don't last long enough to be an issue.

    There are no legacy guarantees. Enjoy the experience in the here and now. And it's not about winning when the top schools points are multiples of the rest of the schools - it's about inclusive experiences.

    If we feel that more rewards are needed, perhaps awards for things like the best non scholarship school, best northern school, best rebuild, best late start school might offset the value of the D2 best of the rest title. D2 works - and the qualification challenge at any level drives fun competition.

    Long live College skiing!

  • eleeskieleeski Posts: 3,975 Infinite Pandas
    @JeffSurdej Hopefully accommodations can be made to the whole season rankings to value the late starting schools. UC schools start a couple weeks before Regionals. How can they even field a team for tournaments before school starts much less earn high seedings? Pure numbers and sandbagging fears are not the only quality measures of National seeding.

  • elrelr Posts: 305 Mega Baller
    Seams as though you could run it as one tournament with two series like worlds. Series 1 = Seeds 1-12, Series 2 = Seeds 13 to 24. Incentive would be to get into Series 1, also outstanding skiers on Series 2 teams could win National Champion medals.
    Ed Rink - LSF Texas
  • eleeskieleeski Posts: 3,975 Infinite Pandas
    Sometimes D1 and D2 run on different lakes with different boats and different judging (shore judging and assistants for D2). Hundred skier events are just too unwieldy. Multiple rounds are not an option with the time constraints (but might be fun and could work even with the D1/D2 split). Separating the events works too well.

  • unksskisunksskis Posts: 454 Solid Baller
    It's not about winning, it's about inclusive experiences? Hard to tell that to the captain trying to recruit their on the fence skiers to forego another weekend away, extra costs, etc, for no chance to compete but for the experience.
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