Teams making the NCAA Tournament will have more time to travel and prepare for their opening match starting in 2016.
A proposal to move Selection Sunday one week earlier was approved at the NCAA Division I Championship Sports/Management Cabinet recent fall meeting.
This decision will extend the men’s volleyball Division I-II NCAA Tournament to two weeks and allows for the two play-in matches to be played the weekend following Selection Sunday. In addition, the new postseason structure will now have the NCAA Tournament semifinals taking place 11 days following Selection Sunday.
The primary reason for this change was to allow teams more time to make travel arrangements after being selected to the NCAA Tournament, according to the meeting’s notes released on the NCAA website.
With the current format that will be used for the upcoming 2015 season, the entire NCAA Tournament takes place during a five-day period. The four teams in the play-in matches also have three days between the NCAA Tournament field being unveiled and their opening round matches.
The top two seeds for the NCAA Tournament will continue to earn bye into the semifinals. However, the new postseason schedule starting in 2016 now gives the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds at least a week-and-half off before their semifinal matches.
Along with the extra time to prepare for the NCAA Tournament, the six-team tournament field beginning in 2016 will be unveiled once again on the Sunday following the conference tournaments. The committee for the upcoming season opted to move its selection date from the traditional Sunday to the Saturday following the conference tournaments to give teams an additional day to make travel arrangements.
The new format and additional week to the NCAA Tournament creates several other possible changes to the men’s volleyball season.
The two play-in matches now have the potential to be played on the home court of the higher seeds, which was originally recommended when the NCAA Tournament expanded from four to six teams in 2013.
Both play-in matches for the upcoming season because of the short-turnaround from Selection Saturday and start of the tournament will be played at the site of the 2015 NCAA Tournament.
The 2016 college men’s volleyball regular season could also be reduced by one week to accommodate moving up Selection Sunday. The regular season currently starts the first week of January and concludes in early April with the start of the conference tournaments.
Selection Sunday for the 2016 season will take place on April 24. In addition, the 2016 NCAA Tournament semifinals and finals will be May 5-7 at Penn State.