NCPA Summer Update – Class AA, Class A, and More!

Hello everyone!
I’d like to start out by thanking everyone for a great 2013-2014 season! Nationals this year was one of the best I’ve attended in recent memory (except for one specific NEIC coach not being in attendance – we all strongly disliked that  ). As a league, I believe that we’ve continued to push forward in some key areas– expanding our relationship within the paintball industry, promoting the National Championship television show by means of broadcasting on premium cable for the second year in a row (and the 10th consecutive year on television).
We’ve also expanded our team internally to help correct some of the backward steps we’ve taken in the past two seasons. Ryan Spierowski joins us in an operations role, and will be primarily responsible for scheduling events and maintaining relationships with teams, host fields, and coordinating sponsorships for the league. Amanda Gruhlke joins us as a league representative, and will be working hand-in-hand with teams as their primary point of contact for day-to-day operations – such as registering teams, working with school finance departments, and having someone that teams can reach, and receive a prompt response, if they have questions. Ryan (Ryan@CPX) and Amanda (Short Stuff) join Rebekah Gast (Rebekah), Rob Ortiz (PSUGhost), Joe Rieger (dymium), and Chris Raehl (raehl) as the NCPA team, along with all of our other volunteers and coordinators.
For the progress that we have made these past few seasons, we’ve fallen short of our own expectations in key areas. The two key areas we are addressing are Class AA scheduling and Class A. I’ll start with Class AA. We have compiled a list of school breaks for all schools who have participated in the NCPA in the past. Primarily spring breaks, but we’ve done our best to identify fall breaks as well. With these in mind, we’ll be generating in the next few weeks a list of dates for each conference that we believe will best serve as a schedule for each region. We will release those target dates both right here on PbNation, our website, Facebook, and Twitter. Once we’ve had an opportunity to review with teams those dates and gather your feedback, we will begin reaching out to fields to schedule those events for the full 2014-2015 season. Our goal is to have the entire season pre-planned before you guys get back to school – allowing you to focus on preparing your budgets, securing funding, practicing, and your studies (of course  ). We would like to continue this trend for future seasons and begin moving the planning process earlier and earlier. If your local field is willing and able to host an NCPA Class AA event, please let us know via e-mail ( We will also be doing a better job of preparing schools for the expenses associated with playing. Paint prices and grades will be made clearly available on APPA and the NCPA website, and we will not allow an event to be posted or planned without having a firm commitment from host without that information.The next area we are reviewing is Class A. In three seasons we’ve gone from 10 schools to 5 in our season conferences, and we had fewer Class A teams at Nationals than we did last year. We have not been proactive in planning Class A conferences, speaking with schools that would be interested in playing, or following through with our schools to ensure that their programs are in a healthy state so they can continue growing and playing. Additionally, we also have one of the more expensive formats to play, while at the same time seeing average funding levels from universities cut and paint prices going up. What this ultimately means for us is that there are some changes we feel can be made to the program to energize Class A growth, as well as Class AA growth. After several years of debate and discussion, we are considering making the following changes to the Class A program:

  • The NEIC Class A conference will continue to operate, and we want to add a Florida Class A conference. Note that each conference would have to have 4 paid teams to operate. If we can’t get 4 teams, we would like to switch that region to open events (see below).
  • Nationals will continue to have an open event on Friday, consisting of 3 Full-Format matches.
  • World Cup will continue each year, and will most likely be the open event format.
  • Going forward, we would like to have two formats available: RaceTo-7 and full format (the existing format)
    • All open events (with the possible exception of World Cup) would be RaceTo-7.
    • Conference events would be either full format or RaceTo-7, where paid conference teams will determine which format will be played.
    • Nationals will be full format
  • We would like to hold up to 1 open Class A event in non-season regions each semester. Open events would be the PSP Pro RaceTo-7 format (one half, 20 minute stop-clock, with penalty boxes). Entry would be limited to 6 teams per event for scheduling purposes.
  • Proposed entry fee structure:
    • Full season, full format: $3800 base price, $150 tiered late fees (no price increases here).
    • Open event, Nationals and World Cup: $1900 (Nationals will be full-format, Cup format is TBD).
    • Open event, RaceTo-7: $1300.
      • 4 team minimum per event. Limited exceptions *may* be made to allow 3 team events.
      • Each non-conference, open event team will receive $500 off their 2015 Nationals entry fee and one free Class AA entry fee, redeemable any time during the 2014-2015 season after their open event is completed.
      • Any team participating in 3 or more open events will receive a free 2015 Nationals entry.
  • Seeding for Nationals will be modified. We will keep the usual order of tiebreakers and seeding in place. Average margin would now be computed as the greater of:
    • Regular season average margin (all events played during the regular season, open or conference, including Nationals Friday play).
    • Average margin from Nationals Friday play.
  • We would no longer provide an automatic entry into the Saturday / Sunday National Championships for Cup and Conference winners. Instead, winners would be given extra wins based on their final placement at Class A events (or their conference placement) to be used in determining their seeding.
    • Season-long conference 1st place team: 3 extra wins
    • Season-long conference 2nd place team: 1 extra win
    • Open event winner: 1 extra win. If 6 teams participate, winner would receive 2 extra wins.
    • World Cup 1st place team: 2 extra wins if they are a non-conference team, otherwise 1 extra win
    • World Cup 2nd place team: 1 extra win if they are a non-conference team

With these changes, we hope to be able to provide a sustainable model for Class A play while still encouraging teams to form strong conferences of Class AA. Encouraging growth in both formats allows us to introduce new schools to college paintball (Class AA) and to provide a more feasible growth path for organizations to strive for (Class A) given the projected level of funding provided by schools and team fundraising. For schools who have been playing Class A, and for those interested in trying out Class A, we would love to hear from you! What do you think about these proposed changes? Where can we improve this program to provide more value for you? What don’t you like?

The final area that we will strive to change is in our communication. This starts with you guys! We want to hear what you think, what is going on with your programs, what struggles you are having, and how we can help your organization grow. Adding Amanda and Ryan to the team as points of contact is a start for us. We want to be more active on PbNation, Facebook, and Twitter, where we can reach all of the teams in an efficient way. We will also be updating our website. Those of you that have been around long enough remember the old version of the website, and know that the current website was a dramatic improvement. We also know that information is hard to find, and that we haven’t done a good job of keeping things updated. We will be re-organizing the site this summer to hopefully provide a better means of finding the information you need, as well as keeping things updated as we make changes. We would also like to feature more of you guys! If your program has done something exciting or new, let us know about it! Shoot a video or documentary of your team? Represent your school at another paintball event? Show off to the world! Communication is always a two-way street – we want to hear from you on a frequent basis to know how we’re doing, and how your team is doing. The easiest way for you to get involved is to run for the NCPA Board of Directors! We have many open spots to fill, and we need them filled now! Your responsibilities and time requirements range from minimal (a few conference calls per season) to as much as you want to be involved, and the only requirement is that you are a full-time student for the 2014-2015 academic year. If you’d like to be on the NCPA Board, please send us an e-mail with your name and school,

We hope that you are as excited about the upcoming season as we are! Please let us know what you think about the upcoming season and proposed changes. Let us know what your team is doing this summer! We look forward to hearing from you, and we look forward to a successful 2014-2015 season.  If you would like to share your opinions and comment on any of these changes, or to let us know what changes you would like to see, head over to our official forum on PbNation:

Joe Rieger