ATN Podcast 327: How do we fix the playoffs?

We’ve been talking about it for a year now: This upcoming 2023 football season will have just four at-large bids. It’s getting harder and harder to make the NCAA Division III football playoffs as an at-large team, there’s no denying it.

Before it gets even worse, this is the time that Division III administrators need to recognize the issues and act on them. Is the answer to expand the playoffs beyond 32 teams, into a sixth week? Where does this week come from? Or is the answer to raise the bar, so that a conference needs seven or eight teams to get a football automatic bid instead of the current ludicrous six?

We surveyed Division III football head coaches for their opinions. And we convened a roundtable of Division III experts to talk through the issues and tell us what needs to be done next. That’s why this edition of the podcast is a little longer — here’s who we hear from:

  • Michelle Morgan, athletic director, John Carroll, former co-chair of the Division III Management Council
  • Brad Bankston, commissioner, Old Dominion Athletic Conference, and former chair of the Division III Championships Committee as well as the Division III Football Championships Committee
  • Jim Catanzaro, head football coach, Lake Forest, and former chair of the Division III Football Championships Committee
  • Jerheme Urban, head football coach, Trinity (Texas)
  • Sherm Wood, head football coach, Salisbury

Plus, Pat Coleman and Greg Thomas give you their assessment, Greg puts Pat on the spot, and we attempt to answer the question of where does the American Southwest Conference go to find more football teams?

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Theme music: Power 2 by DJmentos.
Photos by Dan Hunter, Steve Frommell, Caleb Williams,

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