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Campaign aims to stretch college season to academic year

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College Cup slated for Talen Energy Stadium in December 2017 would move to June 2018 under plan

Patrick Mullins celebrates a goal in the 2013 College Cup final in Chester
Matt Ralph

The National Soccer Coaches Association of America has launched an informational campaign aimed at shifting the Division 1 men’s soccer season out to a two-semester sport.

Maryland head coach Sasho Cirovski outlines the proposal in a video that he and most other D1 men’s coaches have voiced support for over the past three years.

“We want to educate our Athletic Directors, NCAA leadership, student athletes, coaches and fans on the advantages of this Academic Year Model,” said Cirovski, who chairs the NSCAA D1 Men’s committee. “It’s the same number of playing opportunities we have today [25] 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.”

Under the plan outlined by Cirovski, the College Cup slated to return to Talen Energy Stadium in December 2017 would be moved to June 2018.

The change would also make it possible for the NCAA to address one of the main areas where it differs from the international game: liberal substitution rules that compensate for teams playing as many as three games a week. (The other main area of the clock counting down is an easy fix).

It could also mean bigger crowds at the poorly attended showcase for the men’s game at the end of the season. The College Cup final last year drew just 4,081 at Children Mercy Park in Kansas City, slightly worse than the 5,303 that turned out for the final in Chester in 2013.

The academic year model would, however, move the MLS SuperDraft to the summer (MLB does this now) and could create a situation where players leave midway through the college season, either to sign homegrown deals with MLS clubs or for opportunities in Europe.

In an NCAA survey done earlier this year, 70 percent of male players and 90 percent of Division 1 coaches approved of the extended season model.

The NSCAA presented information on the schedule change at NCAA meetings earlier this summer. The response from those meetings, according to the NSCAA, is that “the model will be discussed further as all sports are being studied in the context of time demands for intercollegiate athletics.”