The ConfCarolinas is the among the conferences hopeful the NCAA does not carry out a proposal to revamp the Division I-II men volleyball NCAA Tournament
ConfCarolinas commissioner Chris Colvin said in a statement to Off the Block on Monday that the conference would be preferable to not have the NCAA Tournament contracted by three teams.
“While we fully understand the NCAA has many important things to consider, Conference Carolinas’ hope is that as many men’s volleyball institutions as possible are afforded the opportunity to compete in the national tournament, including keeping the automatic bid process intact,” Colvin said.
This statement comes after the Championships Finance Review Working Group submitted an initial proposal to the Division I Council that would reformat NCAA championship events to reduce future costs. Among the recommendations included reducing the bracket size for men’s volleyball NCAA Tournament from seven to four teams.
A four-team NCAA event would result in not every conference being represented in the tournament field.
Under the proposal, the selection committee would have the authority to only select two of the five conference champions as automatic qualifiers for the NCAA Tournament.
The ConfCarolinas was the first multi-sport conference to sponsor NCAA Division I-II men’s volleyball and earned an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament in 2014. That automatic bid resulted in the tournament field expanding from four to six teams — the first NCAA Tournament expansion for men’s volleyball since it became a sanctioned sport in 1970.
Despite the initial proposal from the working group, there is still a chance the NCAA Tournament bracket will not be reduced.
The working group has requested that conferences, commissioners and organizations provide feedback about the proposal by July 10.
One of the reasons the working group recommended a NCAA Tournament reduction was because men’s volleyball has less than 50 teams. The proposal, though, did not take in consideration future growth in the sport.
Men’s volleyball will exceed 50 teams by the 2022 season with the SIAC and six of its schools adding the sport along with Converse College from the ConfCarolinas starting a program.
The ConfCarolinas currently at nine teams is already the largest NCAA Division I-II men’s volleyball conference in the nation.
The top-eight teams in the ConfCarolinas earn a berth to the annual conference tournament with the tournament winner earning the automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament.
Colvin said the ConfCarolinas for the upcoming season will not only maintain the size of its conference tournament field but will work to continue to improve their championship events for all sports.
“Conference Carolinas is committed to providing its student-athletes with a strong championships experience,” Colvin said. “Conference Carolinas currently has decided to place an added emphasis on our championships to give our student-athletes something to look forward to in the 2020-21 academic year. Currently we are not anticipating any reductions in our conference championships fields for the upcoming academic year as we prioritize the student-athlete experience.”