- The Washington Times - Friday, May 4, 2007

Spoke with Butler associate AD Jon Hind, the chair of the men’s lacrosse selection committee for the third straight year, and found him in excellent spirits for a man juggling his duties at Butler and with the committee, not to mention preparing to take over as the athletic director at Hamilton (N.Y.) College.

He and Albany coach Scott Marr are the only members of the five-man committee to return from last year. Princeton coach Bill Tierney’s term was up, Maryland administrator Shawn Flynn left the school and Towson AD Wayne Edwards retired.

The newcomers include Maryland coach Dave Cottle, Hofstra AD Jack Hayes and Bucknell senior associate AD Tim Pavlechko, so there will be a new people involved in an established process when meetings begin Saturday night in Indianapolis.

“You always have some objectivity; the numbers still steer you,” Hind said. “It’ll be a new dynamic, different voices, ideas, opinions. That’s the way it is with the NCAA committees. Each time there’s a new committee making decisions, something will be different.”

Hind, the former lacrosse coach at Butler, and Tierney helped streamline the process in recent years, bringing it — to borrow Tierney’s phrase — transparency. Even if some coaches believe the selection process should be different, it should be known by now the major criteria are RPI, strength of schedule (including only a team’s 10 strongest games) and records against the top five, next five, etc.

A decade ago, quality victories meant everything and embarrassing losses meant … well nothing.

“I always used to kid if you played in a seven-team conference in the NFL and you beat the No. 1 team but lost to the other five, you’d be 1-5, and in lacrosse you’d be in the tournament,” Cottle said. “That just didn’t make any sense.”

While the committee doesn’t get a pass for all of its number-crunching (see 6-6 Harvard’s unexpected inclusion and predictable first-round pasting last year), every team is now accountable for its entire season. Drexel’s victory at Virginia is balanced a bit by its loss to Lehigh. Albany can’t tout its win at Johns Hopkins without taking a hit for losing to Binghamton.

“The greatest shift has been to consider every game every team has played and the result, whether it was positive or negative,” Hind said.

Some other meanderings heading into the final weekend of the regular season:

* If Albany wasn’t in the tournament before dismantling Stony Brook 17-5, it is now. After a couple shaky outings, it was just what the Great Danes needed to re-assert themselves. A date with UMBC awaits on Saturday.

* UMBC also did what it needed on Thursday, dispatching Binghamton in the America East semifinals. The Retrievers have won six straight, including a victory over Towson, and have an excellent case for an at-large spot in the watered-down field if they don’t win at Albany on Saturday.

* The most sensible question proposed this week was why exactly the NCAA shuttles the committee for a sports based on almost exclusively on the East Coast to Indianapolis for its meetings. Both Georgetown coach Dave Urick and Virginia coach Dom Starsia recalled from their time on the committee how the group met at the Bethesda Marriott, and Urick even remembered a time it was done by conference call.

There’s no reason to go back to that archaic system (heaven forbid!), but there’s just as good an argument to have it somewhere in the Philadelphia-Baltimore-Washington corridor as it is to keep it in Indy, where the NCAA headquarters (and support staff) is located. It certainly would help Maryland’s Dave Cottle, who will try to make a 4:25 p.m. flight tomorrow after a 1 p.m. game. Area motorists between College Park and BWI, be on the lookout.

* The committee could wind up selecting a record six teams from the state of Maryland (Johns Hopkins, Loyola, Maryland, Navy, Towson and UMBC).

Five teams from New York made it in 2004 (Albany, Army, Cornell, Hobart and Syracuse) and 2002 (Cornell, Hobart, Manhattan, Stony Brook and Syracuse). Hopkins, Loyola, Maryland, Navy and Towson all were in the field in 1989, 1992 and 1994.

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