EIVA commissioner critical of proposal to reduce size of NCAA Tournament

Photo courtesy of Penn State athletics

EIVA commission Russ Yurk isn’t mincing words when it comes to the latest proposal from the NCAA.

York in a statement to Off the Block on Saturday said he is opposed to the Championships Finance Review Working Group’s recommendation to permanently reduce the size of the Division I-II men’s volleyball NCAA Tournament from seven to four teams.

“I was disappointed by the decision to include men’s volleyball in their recommendation to reduce bracket sizes,” Yurk said. “This action is counter to the growth we’re seeing at the NCAA and high school levels.”

The working group recently submitted to the Division I Council its initial proposal that would reformat NCAA championship events to reduce future costs. Among the recommendations included reducing the bracket size for men’s volleyball and six other Division I and National Collegiate NCAA Tournaments.

Sports with more than 50 teams are recommended to have NCAA Tournament brackets that are about 20 percent of all teams, according to the proposal. In addition, sports with less than 50 teams are recommended to have their tournament size at about 10 percent.


Men’s volleyball in the proposal is listed at fewer than 50 schools resulting in the tournament size decrease.

The proposal, though, does not take into consideration the upcoming growth of NCAA Division I-II men’s volleyball. 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 starting a program.

If those new programs were included, men’s volleyball based on the working group’s formula would have at least an eight-team tournament field.

A four-team NCAA event, though, 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.

There is an opportunity for revisions to the recommendations in this proposal.

The working group requested that conferences, committees and organizations provide feedback to the proposal by July 10. An updated proposal following this feedback period will be formally submitted to the Division I Council for consideration.

“I’m confident that once feedback is gathered and the new programs scheduled to begin play in the next two years are considered, the committee will realize the men’s bracket size is appropriate,” Yurk said. “A unified response is in the works and I hope to share more later this week.”

Along with the EIVA, First Point Volleyball Foundation informed Off the Block that it is working with the AVCA to formulate a response to this proposal.