Committee chairman: NCAA Tourney play-in match won’t affect MPSF

Don’t expect any MPSF teams to play in the soon-to-be created men’s volleyball NCAA Tournament play-in match any time in the upcoming seasons.

NCAA men’s volleyball committee chairman Brian Santiago said at the recent MPSF league meeting that the new play-in match featuring two conference champions “will not directly impact MPSF teams,” according to the minutes released from the meeting.


The inaugural NCAA Tournament play-in match next season will include the two conference champions from the two conferences with the lowest Rating Percentage Index ranking during the 2013 season. However, the committee has yet to publicly release the formula that will be used to determine those two play-in conferences.

The MPSF historically has been the premier conference in college men’s volleyball with its 13 West Coast teams winning all but four NCAA championships. In addition, a West Coast team has received the lone at-large bid to the four-team NCAA Tournament every year expect once since men’s volleyball became a NCAA sanctioned sport in 1970.

The committee is adding NCAA Tournament play-in match as a result of the Conference Carolinas becoming eligible for the automatic bid starting in 2014. The Conference Carolinas is comprised of nine Division I-II schools in the Southeast and in 2009 became the first multi-sport conference to sponsor men’s volleyball.

Santiago in a previous interview with Off the Block said the men’s volleyball NCAA Tournament is prevented from expanded beyond its four-team format because the NCAA is in the middle of a budget cycle.

While the conferences required to play in the inaugural 2014 play-in match remain unknown, Santiago said at the MPSF meeting that if the play-in match started this year it would have featured the EIVA and Conference Carolinas champions.

Santiago, who is also an associate athletics director at BYU, also said the committee has not ruled out using the RPI from the current year instead of the previous year to decide the two play-in teams. However, the committee chairman said at the meeting that using the current year RPI would be difficult because conferences need advanced time to rearrange their conference tournaments to accommodate the play-in match.

The three-person NCAA committee is expected to formally announce the addition play-in match and the conferences that have to play in the match following its annual meeting in June.