National Championships Format
- Bold, Aggressive, Exciting
The February 13-14 meeting of the ABC/WIBC Collegiate Committee was anything but "same
old business" as the committee approved a proposed format change for the 1999 National Collegiate Championships.
The proposal presented to the committee by the National Collegiate Bowling Coaches Association is unlike any format ever
used for the Championships. For a start, the 99 Championships will not include a single game of the traditional 5
person format and for the second time in history there will be no step ladder finals. What teams will see will be a "no
one gets eliminated qualifying round of 32 baker games followed by a double elimination bracket format to determine the
1999 Mens and Womens National Championships.
The competition will begin on Thursday with all 16 teams in both divisions bowling a qualifying
round of 8 - 4 Baker game matches. One 4 Baker game match on each of the eight pairs of lanes to be used during the double
elimination. At the conclusion of the 32 Baker games, teams will be seeded into a 16 team bracket. Teams will then bowl a
best 4 out of 7 match. You lose once you slip into the losers bracket-you lose twice and your season is over. When Friday
nights action closes there will be two mens teams and two womens teams left standing. The winner of the loser
bracket and the undefeated winner of the winners bracket. Those two teams will compete in a best 4 of 7 baker match to
determine the National Champions.
The first I heard of this proposal was from Bill Straub, Coach of Nebraska during the Brunswick Great
Lakes Invit. in Chicago. When Bill first explained his idea I didnt understand it totally. When my dense head finally
digested what was on the napkin in front of me, I said "Wow!!. When Bill brought the proposal in front of the National
Collegiate Bowling Coaches Association during their annual meeting held at the St. Louis Match Games Championship I was by then
total in favor, but thought this proposal was too bold and aggressive to be approved by the coaches association. I believe "slim
and none" were the two chances I gave it. Having a life span longer than the vote would take. Good thing I didnt bet my
house because it passed almost unanimously. The original proposal was tinkered with by Bill, Karl Nickolai (President NCBCA) and a
couple other designated coaches by Karl, but the foundational premise came intact to the committee.
I applaud both the Coaches Association and the committee. The Association for having the vision to
propose something new-aggressive and potentially exciting to the max and the committee, along with incoming collegiate manager
Diane Olson, for approving the proposal and agreeing to make any adjustments in schedule, office materials, press releases, etc.
to put the format into action.
Will the format make everyone happy, most likely not. Will the format make everyone upset, most likely
not. Will it be exciting-no question-no doubt. What if the #1 team in the country by the polls, gets upset in round one of the
double elimination and must run the table to earn the title? Every match you bowl is live or die. The only dull moments will be
during the first 32 Baker games when only a bracket position is at stake and not elimination or getting so far behind early you
have no chance of getting back in the hunt for a step-ladder position.