2014 CSCAA Invitational to be Swimming’s Equivalent to NIT Tournament

An NCAA “B” standard, without an equivalent invited time, doesn’t mean as much as it used to. Most years, there are dozens of swimmers in each event with “B” time standards that aren’t invited to the NCAA Championships, and those swimmers are left to race against high school swimmers at sectional USA Swimming meets as their post-conference championship event.

Grand Canyon University head coach Steve Schaffer is in an even more unique situation. Specifically, as they transition to the NCAA’s Division I next season, they will be ineligible to compete in the NCAA Championships for the next four years.

And so Schaffer, in cooperation with Division I Rice and Division II Incarnate Word (who is also transitioning to Division I) devised an alternative post-season event to the NCAA Championship that will be called the CSCAA Invitational and held in Rockwall, Texas, about 25 miles northwest of Dallas. The meet will run from March 23rd-25th (Sunday-Tuesday), which are the days in between Minnesota hosting the women’s NCAA Championship and Texas hosting the men’s NCAA Championship.

“In thinking about a possible solution I looked at the NIT Basketball Tournament and non-BCS football bowl games as analogous opportunities in other college sports for what I was looking to have for college swimming,” Schaffer described. “Just like the NIT provides a post season showcase for the college basketball teams which aspire to make it to the NCAA Tournament, we could have a post season meet that was for swimmers and teams aspiring to make it to the DI championships. It could be used as a stepping stone to the next level.”

The idea is a popular one, and one that several other teams have batted around but never been able to put together in a concrete manner like GCU, Rice, and Incarnate Word have been able to.

Western Kentucky, IUPUI, TCU, UNC-Wilmington, Duquesne, and Arkansas-Little Rock have already expressed interest.

“The meet needed to have a high standard as a main tenant of the event is to help in development process for our athletes who are moving towards the NCAA Division I Championship, but haven’t quite made the leap,” Schaffer explained “I think the meet can serve a large number of DI programs – consider that even with the new selection procedures which have helped mid-majors, only 37.8% of all DI women’s programs and 38.1% of all DI men’s programs got one or more swimmers into NCAA meet.”

The meet will be exclusively an NCAA meet in terms of rules and teams invited, and will be open to Division I teams, teams transitioning from Division II to Division I, and teams transitioning from NAIA to Division II.

“A” times for the CSCAA Invitational will be the same as the Division I NCAA Championship Consideration standards, and “B” times for the CSCAA Invitational will be 5% higher than the Invitational “A” standards. Swimmers must have an ‘A’ time to swim at the meet, and can swim anything they have a “B” time in (up to the normal 3 individual event time limit.)

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8 years ago

Is there a typo? You need an A – cut to make the CSCAA invite? Or do you mean the A cut of the CSCAA is the B – Cut for NCAAs?

Reply to  BYoung001
8 years ago

The A cut for CSCAA meet will be the NCAA DI B cut..

8 years ago

It’s unbelievable to me how smoking fast a swimmer has to be to make the NCAA’s this day and age. They are deeper than the Olympics in terms of overall speed of swims. I think an alternative meet for swimmers who are still amazingly talented is a long time coming…my guess would be the the championship rounds at such a meet would probably produce faster swims then some of the preliminary rounds of the NCAA.

8 years ago

I’m sick and tired of this “8th place ribbon” mentality. You didn’t make the meet. Life sucks sometimes. Let the swimmer that miss the meet ponder on what they could have done better and use their frustration to motivate them to make changes next time.

Do they have a losers bracket for March Madness? Nope. Do they have the Almost Olympics for people who just missed? Nope.

Not everyone gets to feel good about themselves. There are winners and losers in life. Let’s stop pretending that everyone is a winner. Thanks.

Reply to  WOW
8 years ago

Umm, I think the point of the article is that they do have a loser’s bracket for March Madness. It’s the NIT Tourne.

Reply to  WOW
8 years ago

We’re not talking about heat winners here. We’re not talking about the Fun-Fair-Positive play soccer league where everybody wins. We are talking NCAA ‘B’ cuts. Nothing wrong with creating another level for swimmers to work towards into achieving that elusive NCAA ‘A’ cut.

Reply to  completelyconquered
8 years ago

We’re also talking about “A” cuts for some swimmers who are prohibited from swimming at NCAA’s because their schools are in a 4-year transition period. Now they have an opportunity to compete at a post-season meet besides their own conference meet. I am a mom of one of those swimmers and I am extremely happy about it!

Reply to  WOW
6 years ago

It’s also prep for those swimmers who will eventually make NCAAs. It can be used to experiment with going back up after conference then tapering again. Don’t be such a cynic.

8 years ago

Well, since you asked…

“Do they have a losers bracket for March Madness?” Actually, Yes. It is called the NNIT Basketball Tournament – they get on TV and everything.

“Do they have the Almost Olympics for people who just missed?” Actually they have the World University Games which is a lower tier international multi-sport festival much like the Olympics.

Then there is football, which has a multitude of non-BCS Bowl games which can have teams with just a .500 record.

Pro baseball has rookie leagues A, AA, AAA minor ball and then the majors.

There are plenty of examples of how competitions are tiered to provide opportunities for qualified athletes to compete at a higher level of competition as… Read more »

8 years ago

Well said, Steve. Wow: You are ridiculous or a troll, I’m not quite sure hoping your just fishing for comments…

Reply to  coacherik
8 years ago

There’s really no need for personal attacks on WOW. The fan base or media really doesn’t care much for the NIT tourney OR lower level bowl games in football. You’ll probably get the same reaction from a number of people on this type of meet.

IMO it will be great for development of swimmers & teams that couldn’t make the big dance.

swim coach
8 years ago

i agree this is a good thing. just as others have mentioned about the tier system of meets, this meet could actually help to make ncaa champs even faster.

an example of this is the current usa-s tier system from junior nats to nats (or us open or whatever it gets called) to world championship trials, etc. each next level is faster.

hope this new college meet becomes a huge hit!

Ivan Lambert
8 years ago

Anyone notice this week all of the TV coverage NCAA Girls Softball and Baseball received in the last two weeks?
The Women’s Softball received all kinds of hours of “LIVE” coverage as, did the Men’s Baseball which was only in the Regionals and now Super Regionals.

How about the NCAA Track and Field Outdoor Championships?
Anyone notice? Yes, more live coverage on both Friday and Saturday.
To make it a smooth TV production, in between breaks of live races, they showed races / events previously recorded.

Meanwhile NCAA Swimming Championships which BTW, is a much higher caliber meet than either the Softball, Baseball or Track and Field, is not broadcast live. Even more, it is not even… Read more »

Gordy Westerberg
8 years ago


I think this will be HUGE…my one question is…will athletic departments fund this? Or will each team need to find the funds?

Reply to  Gordy Westerberg
8 years ago

Gordy, I think especially for the first year, we will find that some athletic departments will fund their teams and some will not. Budgeting requires prioritizing, so some programs with budgets already set for next year and scheduling commitments made may not be able to make it for the first year, and will have to decide if the meet is a priority for their programs in future years. I hope they do.

However when you look at the numbers of the anticipated eligiblle teams that might support the meet, the average team size (without factoring in posible relay only swimmers) is 3 swimmers for women’s teams and 4 swimmers for men’s teams. Hopefully that will not be an insurmountable cost… Read more »

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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