On Tuesday, nine of the most successful head coaches in college soccer — including IU’s Todd Yeagley — shared a letter on Twitter, urging the Division I Council as well as other organizational bodies that oversee the game to adopt a proposal currently known as C-2019-90. That proposal could change the college soccer landscape for better in multiple ways as described in the letter, which you can read here:
“It is time to act boldly to bring our playing and practice season model into the 21st century!”— Sasho Cirovski (@SashoCirovski) October 15, 2019
Myself and the eight national championship coaches unanimously urge adopting this proposal outlined in this letter to the NCAA D1 Council as we gear up for the April 2020 vote. pic.twitter.com/vz0JoW5Bi5
If you didn’t read the letter in its entirety, which I highly recommend, here’s the skinny. The adoption of C-2019-90 would change college soccer’s schedule rather drastically.
Currently, teams begin their regular seasons around the end of August, conference tournaments begin in November and then the NCAA Tournament follows later in the month. It all culminates with the College Cup, college soccer’s Final Four, being played in mid-December.
C-2019-90 proposes the adoption of what is known as the 21st Century Model, which is described in the letter. The model would have the college soccer season broken into two segments — one in the fall semester and one in the spring semester.
There would be the same number of days and weeks in the season and regular-season schedules would drop from 25 total to 23. The postseason, rather than being played in the freezing cold depending on where a team is located, would be played in much fairer conditions.
For example, the 2017 College Cup was played in Philadelphia (really Chester, PA, but that’s splitting hairs unless you’re from there). Prior to the event being played at Talen Energy Stadium, a rather nice venue, snow had to be plowed off the field. It sat in banks on the sidelines. You take that same venue, but play the College Cup in perhaps May or June and it would almost certainly be a better experience for practically everybody involved.
Another benefit of the 21st Century Model is that it would declutter the regular season. Rather than playing two, possibly three matches in a week teams would get to play more exclusively on weekends. For example, IU wouldn’t have to travel to Evanston, IL for a match on a Tuesday, as it did earlier this season. That allows players to take care of themselves better physically and mentally with the added benefit of them having more time to focus on (nerd voice) their academics.
On Wednesday CQ got an assist from student reporter Jordan Gould of IU Student Television and BTN Student U as he asked Yeagley about both the letter and the proposal:
“Well this has been a long, long project in the works and one that’s been talked about for 15 to 20 years, honestly. I think really in the last three to four years we’ve really started to get the momentum and the backing, the understanding of the sports science and the medical background of what our sport is required to put our athletes through and when you dissect that and you look at what the NCAA has worked towards — trying to find more balance for the student-athlete — it just makes sense. It just makes sense to spread our season longer and the survey that we’ve done with the student-athletes, Division-I, was nearly 90 percent that wanted this particular model, the coaches were over 90 percent, everybody has spoken that they want this and yet change is difficult for people and there are challenges with anything, but the overall good of our sport, there’s more positives than any obstacles that might get in the way so that’s why I feel strongly about it.”
This isn’t just any random schmuck advocating for the adoption of the 21st Century Model, it’s one of the sharpest minds in college soccer and he’s not alone. He’s joined by his counterparts from Maryland, UConn and Stanford among several others in supporting the proposal.
The Hoosier head coach also made it clear that the group is behind the proposal because it’s the right thing for the game, plain and simple.
“Why would we want change if we’ve had so much success?” Yeagley said. “You’d think we wouldn’t. To say from all these coaches that have won a national championship or have consistent programs in the top 20, to say that this is good for our sport, may not necessarily be good for our programs’ success, we still feel like we’ll have equal success, but I think that’s what the letter was originally intended to be.”
With any luck, this letter will help to build even more support for the proposal as it goes through the endless processes that take time to take place as anything involved with the NCAA seemingly does. According to Yeagley, those processes will take place in the coming months beginning in November and potentially culminating with a vote in April.
With all of the information laid out as the coaches did in the letter it seems like this is a pretty simple decision. Accepting the proposal and adopting the 21st Century Model is in the best interest of not only the coaches and players that are directly affected by it, but of the game itself. It should be a slam dunk, a common-sense measure taken by the NCAA to improve things for its constituents and fans. Then again, you can never count on common sense when it comes to the NCAA.