The NCAA will be picking up the tab for the inaugural men’s volleyball NCAA Tournament play-in match this upcoming season.
The NCAA’s Division I Championships/Sports Management Cabinet voted last week to modify its policy on play-in matches and will begin to start paying for all team expenses associated with new postseason match.
The Division I-II men’s volleyball NCAA Tournament starting next season will add a play-in match and expand to five teams to accommodate the Conference Carolinas, a nine team Division II conference, becoming eligible for an automatic bid to the tournament. Before this NCAA policy reversal, teams competing in the newly created play-in match would have been responsible to pay for travel and other expenses associated with the match.
The old NCAA policy received criticism from several prominent head coaches. Among the coaches expressing concern included Penn State coach Mark Pavlik who said in June that several EIVA teams if they reached the play-in match would not have the budget to participate.
Along with this financial change to the NCAA play-in match, the championship cabinet agreed to recognize teams reaching the play-in match as NCAA Tournament participants.
“This decision makes sense on so many levels,” cabinet chair and Virginia athletics director Jane Miller said in a statement “The cabinet believes it is important for teams participating in play-ins to have their expenses covered. This policy change will allow that to happen. Although play-ins are not technically part of the bracket, student-athletes participating in play-ins will have a championships experience that mirrors that of other participants. This should provide a better experience for the student-athletes and coaches involved.”
The NCAA men’s volleyball committee announced in June that the inaugural play-in match will feature the conference champions from the EIVA and Conference Carolinas. Both conferences were placed into the play-in match after having the lowest conference RPI during the 2013 season.
The cabinet at its most recent meeting in Indianapolis also agreed to have thorough discussions in future meetings about a variety of championship issues including the size of the NCAA Tournament and the amount of time between the selection show and the first round matches.