Release Courtesy of the MIAC
St. Paul, Minn. - For the second time in less than a week, the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) announced major changes to its spring sports schedules to try and combat the onslaught of winter weather that plagued Minnesota throughout April. Tuesday’s announcement dealt with a major format change to the 2013 MIAC Softball Playoffs, and a potential change to the 2013 MIAC Baseball Playoffs.
With a little over a week left in the regular season, there are MIAC softball teams that will not be able to complete their full regular season. In order to provide a positive experience for student-athletes and give all teams a fair shot at claiming the MIAC’s automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Softball Playoffs, the conference announced Tuesday that it will alter its Softball Playoff format for this season only to include all 12 teams.
“This has been an extremely challenging spring for everyone in the MIAC, especially the coaches and student-athletes,” said Dan McKane, MIAC Executive Director. “It’s important to provide a great and equitable experience for our student-athletes, and considering the issues we’ve faced with weather and scheduling, this new tournament format will allow all 12 teams to experience the thrill of postseason play following a very trying season.”
The 2013 MIAC Softball Playoffs will now run Friday, May 3, through Sunday, May 5, at Caswell Park in Mankato, Minn., with Gustavus Adolphus College serving as the host school. The new format will feature four three-team pools playing round-robin games on Friday, May 3, with the four first-place teams advancing from each pool into a four-team, double-elimination tournament on Saturday, May 4, and Sunday, May 5.
The format was proposed by the MIAC softball coaches in a conference call Friday, and adopted by the conference’s athletic directors during another conference call Tuesday afternoon. Coaches will continue working together on a formula to seed the 12 teams, considering it is likely that teams will have played different amounts of conference games, so winning percentage might not provide an accurate seed. Once the seeding details are finalized, they will be listed on the 2013 MIAC Softball Playoff page.
Each pool will include two teams seeded in the top eight (No. 1 and No. 8, No. 2 and No. 7, No. 3 and No. 6 and No. 4 and No. 5) and the final four seeds (Nos. 9-12) will be randomly added to each of the four pools. Friday’s games will be played at 3 p.m., 5 p.m. and 7 p.m., Saturday’s games will be at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. and Sunday’s game times would be 9 a.m. and 11:30 a.m., and 2 p.m. if necessary.
“We appreciate the teamwork and creative thinking displayed by the MIAC softball coaches and athletic directors,” McKane said. “Everyone worked together to come with a solution to provide a great experience for student-athletes that have faced a lot of frustrations this spring.”
As of now, the MIAC baseball season will proceed as planned with the new schedule announced by the conference last week. However, the MIAC athletic directors also approved a conditional proposal put forth by the baseball coaches to expand their postseason field only in the event that all conference games are not completed.
If, on May 8, it is clear that all MIAC regular-season conference games cannot be completed, the 2013 MIAC Baseball Playoffs will change from a four-team double-elimination tournament to a six-team, single elimination tournament to allow for more teams to enjoy the postseason experience and compete for the MIAC’s Playoff title and automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Baseball Tournament.
The MIAC Baseball Playoff will not officially change formats anytime before May 8, so MIAC baseball teams have a little more than two weeks to continue to attempt to play as many conference doubleheaders as possible, using the update schedule and existing re-scheduling policy.
Regardless of format, the 2013 MIAC Baseball Playoffs will be held May 10-12 at Veterans Field in Minnetonka. In the event a change occurs, the two top seeds would receive a bye into the semifinals with seeds No. 3-6 playing quarterfinal games on May 10. The two semifinal games would be held May 11, with the championship on Sunday, May 12.
For up-to-date spring sports schedules and Playoff and Championship in the MIAC, visit www.miac-online.org.