Div. I men’s college coaches propose Academic Year Season Model
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (Via NSCAA) – The Division 1 Men’s college coaches of the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) have launched an informational campaign for a proposed playing season model that addresses the traditional compressed NCAA fall soccer season and tackles issues of health, safety and time demands of student-athletes.
Called the Academic Year Season Model, it would reduce the number of fall games, create a winter break, add games in the spring, reduce weekday games and bring the championship to June.
70% of male players and 90% of Division 1 coaches approved of the extended season model in results of an NCAA survey done earlier this year that focused on school/sports balance and other lifestyle, health, and player development issues. This effort is only to change the D1 men’s season, leaving other NCAA divisions in their current format.
NSCAA College Services provided information for the primary NCAA committees to review in their meetings this summer. The response from those meetings is that the model will be discussed further as all sports are being studied in the context of time demands for intercollegiate athletics.
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“We want to educate our Athletic Directors, NCAA leadership, student athletes, coaches and fans on the advantages of this Academic Year Model,” said Sasho Cirovski, NSCAA D1 Men’s committee chair and University of Maryland head coach. “It’s the same number of playing opportunities we have today  but it reduces missed class time, gives appropriate rest and recovery time between games and moves the championship into a better weather time of year.”
An FAQ on the Academic Year Season Model is available here.
At this time Division 1 Women have not given the same support to the academic year model, but according to University of Florida head coach Becky Burleigh, who is the NSCAA Advocacy Council representative for all of college soccer, it may be more popular moving forward.
“The D1 Men are further along in their education process than the D1 Women, and we fully support their efforts to get this on the table for discussion,” said Burleigh. “The initiative is a well thought through model that will serve their game and student-athletes well. As we move into the future, with this informational starting point it may be considered a good fit for us, and this will be decided in time as each college division considers what best serves the needs of their athletes and programs.”