QUINCY -- The athletic directors and other top athletic administrators from the Great Lakes Valley Conference's 15 schools began the process last week of adjusting schedules to comply with the NCAA's decision to reduce the maximum number of games for Division II programs.
Those discussions will be ongoing.
The ADs, faculty advisors and senior women's administrators met via video teleconferencing last Thursday with the ADs holding a follow-up meeting Friday ahead of this week's summit of the GLVC Council of Presidents. No final decisions were made, and not many are expected to be made by the presidents.
The conversations are more about devising potential solutions at this point.
"We're looking at the possibility to decompress schedules and spread games out," Quincy University vice president of intercollegiate athletics Marty Bell said. "Several sports are being evaluated to see if there is a better solution than what the current schedule states."
Early last week, the Division II Presidents Council reduced the minimum number of contests required for sport sponsorship and NCAA championships selection, as well as the maximum number of contests per sport. This will be for the 2020-21 school year only.
The move came as no surprise as 85 percent of the athletic directors nationwide supported the move.
"The key was the right amount of reduction before you cut into the student-athlete experience," Bell said. "We're not going to sacrifice the student-athlete experience. We will make decisions with the best interests of the student-athletes in mind."
The reduction of games will have varying impact across the board.
For example, football was reduced from 11 to 10 games with common sense suggesting Week 1 games, currently scheduled for Sept. 5, be eliminated. It will allow an extra week for teams to prepare depending on the date campuses reopen.
Meanwhile, men's and women's basketball schedules are being reduced from 28 to 22 games, which could significantly impact revenue and the ability to maintain a weekly rhythm. If the GLVC sticks to a 20-game schedule, that leaves just two non-conference games. Last year, Quincy played in the two-game GLVC/GMAC Challenge to open the season and twice in its own Subway Holiday Tournament.
Either one takes care of the only non-conference games allowed should the GLVC stick to its schedule.
It also eliminates other non-conference home games, which impact revenue. Also, practice begins Oct. 15, which under the current format would allow for only three games throughout November and December.
Basketball isn't the only one facing such issues.
Men's and women's soccer programs will be limited to 14 games, which eliminates all non-conference games. The curious part will be how that impacts NCAA Tournament selections since the soccer teams wouldn't be playing any in-region competition outside of the conference.
Baseball teams will lose a fifth of their schedule as they drop from 50 games in the spring to 40. The Hawks would have played 15 non-conference game this spring.
Women's volleyball appears to be suffering the biggest reduction as only 20 matches will be permitted. Quincy played 32 matches last fall with 15 in conference play. The reduction essentially will wipe out early-season tournaments and crossover events.
Aside from the reduction of games, athletic adimistrators must also take into consideration the different responses to the coronavirus pandemic by different states. The GLVC membership is spread over Illinois, Missouri and Indiana and when those states allow for campus to open back up varies.
"You hope by August they are all close to a level playing field," Bell said.