October 9, 2012


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DIII Head Coaches Committee

Tuesday, October 9

Meeting Minutes


Present on the Call: Sam Lambert (Chair), Jon Bennett, Doug Blystone, Mari Burningham, Joshua Edmed, Ed Garza, Sheila Gisbrecht, Nicole Hess, Kim Kelly, Mark Massey, Mika Robinson, Bridget Sheehan, Eddie Stawinski, Tammy Swearingen, Dorothy Webb, DeAnn Woodin, Kali Andress (AVCA)


I. Roll Call Update/Roll Call Question

Sam: We are halfway through the season. I hope everyone is doing well. Give me a word or a phrase that describes how you are currently feeling about your season.

II. AVCA Report - Kali Andress

  • Convention - Early Bird Deadline - November 2. Hotels are quickly filling up (80%-90% full) so make sure to register at your earliest convenience.
  • DIII HCC Committee Meeting at Convention - 5:30 - 7 on Wednesday, December 12 in the KICC.
  • Salary Survey - 58% of DIII member coaches completed the survey so thank you to those who participated. Those who participated will receive results by the end of November.
  • Tomorrow is the last day to donate to the Coaches 4 Coaches Scholarship Program. We have reached our goal of $1,010 by October 10, but the contest still continues for which group can donate the most money. Someone from that group will win a complimentary convention registration.


III.  Special Guest Joan Powell - Joan will be on the call to talk about any officiating concerns especially some that were voiced on last month's call

Joan's Pre-Call Email:

I look forward to meeting with you all of you tomorrow.  As a form of introduction, so I do not have to do this tomorrow, I am in my second year as the NCAA National Coordinator of Officials for Volleyball.  This position has been in existence for a number of sports and the NCAA decided it was Volleyball's turn.  My job is to promote consistency in officiating, provide teaching tools on the Central Hub, travel to evaluate officials and be involved with each of the three Championship committees in their nomination/selection/advancement of their postseason officials.  Prior to this job, I was referee working numerous conferences throughout the country - BUT - I cut my teeth on DII and DIII here in Colorado.  I was a high school teacher and coach for 30 years.  My daughter played at the JC level and then DII.  I have been a member of the AVCA since its inception.  
Naturally, Ball Handling is a major topic for officials and coaches.  The subject is included at every summer clinic. Certainly a four-hour clinic, with an hour devoted to ball handling issues, cannot "cure" the folks.  Even though there are over 2500 referees (from the 3,000+ members) attending one of the 28 clinics offered across the country, some referees choose not to do the professional thing AND assignors do not make clinic attendance, NCAA membership, certification and a written exam part of their conference expectations.
I will send you the NCAA/PAVO clinic module on ball handling - "The Great Divide" via YouSendit - it will be sent from Marcia Alterman's account.  The impetus for this title and discussion actually came from Tammy Swearingen, Westminster College and DIII member of the rules committee.  She voiced her concern on this topic on behalf of DIII coaches last January at the rules meeting. 
Tomorrow, I would like to refer to some of the topics in this module, if you could have it up on your computer during the call.  Of course, we do not have the time to view it in its entirety along with the videos!!  But, I will attempt to present to you what is being taught to the referees for all of the divisions of collegiate play.  I hope it will spur a healthy discussion and perhaps give you a chance to share some thoughts on how I can help you to make the ball handling issue better.

Discussion on the Call:

  • Joan: Since she took this job, she's wanted to bridge the communication gap between officials and coach. It's not us against you. The issues Sam brought to her attention are not new news. She attended a meeting who put on the clinics to explain there was a problem. Click here to view the PowerPoint she provided.
  • Joan wants to know what the specific issue there is at the DIII level.
  • Micah Robinson: Inconsistency if we have a setter who handles well and the other setter doesn't. The official doesn't want to call the other setter every time. But that's not our fault. Joan: It's only fair that we don't allow poor skill to dictate the tempo of the game. You're right, that is not fair. I will make note of that again and will add this to next year's clinic topics.
  • Joan: Spent hours on ball handling watching tape explaining what officials should look for. Once it's a broken play, and the 3rd ball has to be taken over there is a tendency that the official leaves that player and follows the ball over the net. We are trying to highlight that to change it.
  • Automatic call when the setter does a one-handed set. Should be based on the set, not just the fact that she is using one hand. Joan: Yes that is on our PowerPoint. We discussed that. We are pretty lenient with the directional block. Are we really deciphering between different skills? Have to make sure it's not a catch or a throw, because that is against the rules. This is a fine line.
  • Block versus contact has been a problem. Whether they are in blocking mode or they move back and try to hit it.
  • Setting causes the most consternation. What's athletic and what's not. Making sure there is no double-contact.
  • Even looking at the rest of the PowerPoint, the problem really stems from the multiple divisions and the mixed messages the officials are getting from them. The officials do multiple divisions, including high school, the mixed messages from evaluations from coaches can be a problem. A coach that wants it tight versus one who wants to allow more play. Officials want to be consistent. It's hard to give you a quick answer. We are working hard to get to a consistency.
  • Would like little dialogue going into the match with your athletes about what to expect from the officials. Do you think that the game at the DIII level has come to a beckon? Have the referees lost control of consistency? Are coaches telling them not to call anything?
  • Tammy: I am just seeing inconsistency from night to night. It's hard to prepare your team when you don't know what to expect. It's frustrating to teach hand skills and then have it not called. There are times when I tell my setter that they should have been called, that they got lucky. That demeans what I'm trying to teach.
  • Joan: If you were standing in front of all the DIII officials, would you say you need to call all of these double contacts on both sides?
  • Tammy: Yes, that's what I would say. I think we are hurting the sport in a sense if we just let the play go because we are taking the play away and it's getting sloppy.
  • Joan: UK's coach told me that the officials are the keeper of the skill. As you travel, do you see a difference through the regions? Does it change in post season or in non-conference?
  • Tammy: I think it does change. I've been in post season games when it's very tight and ones that it's fair game. If I'm going to lose a match because of calls, or lack of calls, I would rather it be because of tight calls and my athletes need to work harder.
  • Sam: When we are traveling, I will tell my kids at practice that there is no shame in bump setting the ball. Because I know they will get called no matter what, which is pretty ridiculous. Also had a match when the R1 looked at the R2 every time for calls. There was a noticeable delay after points and R2 was pretty much calling the match. The athletes even noticed it. The lack of confidence in the R1. I have addressed that to our local officials. Not sure if that has been addressed.
  • Joan: This should never happen in intercollegiate in October.
  • John Bennett: We've had a problem here with officials calling more technique than the actual action of the play. A non-setter will set the ball and the form won't be great, but it's still fair play.
  • Joan: We do hear that quite a bit. That they are gymnastic judges and that they are a lot tougher on non-setters.
  • Are there talks about eliminating the double hit?
  • Joan: Yes, there are talks about that at the FIVB level. It's never gone anywhere though. It would make things easier to call but would get messy and might change the integrity of the call.
  • Are there talks about rules changing to reflect the FIVB rules so it's not so confusing to the officials?
  • Joan: I went to FIVB rules to ask them to go to sequence of signals, but they aren't as concerned with that. I think we are getting closer to those changes. I tell my staff we know the type of officials we are getting, and we know the pecking order. If anyone wants to get involved in collegiate, they go from HS to DIII if there is no local Juco or NAIA. They don't just go to DI. That is not to dog on any level. It's an entry level for these officials. The training piece is very difficult. It is non-existent if they don't go to your scrimmages. We need to bridge that gap and invite them in before the season.
  • Joan: Recruiting people is also an issue. We have to get people who understand this one and who have a passion for it. And maybe look like they played! Getting women is an issue. Especially when this is a women's sport!
  • Joan: If there is anything else, please just contact me. If you want me to come to the HCC meeting at Convention, just let me know. We need to bridge this gap and make better referees.
  • Sam: Thank you and we will touch base with you about being at the HCC meeting. I am happy to serve as the liaison between the DIII HCC and PAVO.

IV.  NCAA Regional alignment update

  • Sam: I am sure many of you are aware if you were at the 2011 Convention when Jan Gentry touched upon it. I know some people in our conference was asking about when it is effective. This is still being discussed among the championships committee. Nothing is going to change for 2013-2014. So just wanted to let you know. There will be more discussion about this at the general meeting and the DIII HCC meetings at Convention. Any comments about this?
  • Kim Kelly: The alignment from last year is totally out. I think they are rearranging everything.
  • Sam: Yes, I believe that is true. And any changes won't be for a few more years.
  • Regional Ranking changes?
  • Sam: As far as I know the 70% is going to stay. I can find out more about this on the RAC call tomorrow.
  • Mary Winter: On the Champs committee. Haven't heard of any changes. We haven't even talked about the alignment yet. Will probably discuss that in February.

V. Jill Wilson - assistant coach at LSU (also on the board)


  • She is in charge of the Video Tip of the Week for the AVCA. She would love to have some VTOWs from the DIII community.
  • She emailed me requesting to have a DIII. I will forward everyone the guidelines and the compliance form. If you are interested, please contact her.
  • VTOWs receive upwards of 2,000 views each.


The next call will be on Tuesday, November 13 at 11:00am Eastern Time.

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