The MPSF leadership is not only wanting answers but calling for major reforms in the wake of the NCAA men’s volleyball committee’s controversial at-large bid selection.
MPSF coaches and conference officials expressed concerns at its latest league meeting about the NCAA men’s volleyball committee’s lack of transparency and the current limited size of the three-member committee.
Conference officials stated during the meeting that there needs to be increased transparency with the at-large bid selection process, according to the meeting’s minutes. Officials also stated at the MPSF meeting earlier this month that the RPI used in the NCAA Tournament berth selections needs to be revised to recognize and reward the strength of the MPSF.
This protest of the current selection process comes one month after Lewis narrowly beat out Pepperdine for the final at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Despite Pepperdine being ahead of Lewis in the national rankings, the Flyers held the edge over the Waves in the majority of criteria categories that the selection committee uses to determine the NCAA Tournament field. Lewis additionally benefited from playing more non-conference matches against teams with winning records, while Pepperdine played more matches against nationally ranked teams but did not have any non-conference matches.
Several unnamed conference coaches, according to the meeting’s minutes, agreed with MPSF officials that the current RPI is “biased towards the Midwest and East.” In addition, Hawai’i coach Charlie Wade said the current RPI format will require MPSF teams to increase their amount of non-conference matches in future seasons.
Along with the RPI concerns, MPSF commissioner Al Bearid stated expansion is needed with the NCAA selection committee.
The NCAA men’s volleyball selection committee is comprised of three members with the East Coast, Midwest and West Coast each having a representative.
Coaches at the meeting, according to the meeting’s minutes, expressed concerns about the non-West Coast voting block that holds the majority of seats on the committee. The coaches also stated the MPSF should get both at-large bids to the NCAA Tournament under its current format.
The NCAA Tournament last season expanded from four to six teams because of the addition of the Conference Carolinas receiving an automatic bid. In addition, the tournament expansion added a second at-large bid.
Lewis last season became the second non-West Coast team in the history of the NCAA Tournament to earn an at-large bid.
One obstacle for the MPSF to get the NCAA Tournament selection committee expanded is that it does not have any direct representation at the NCAA.
Coaches at the meeting proposed requesting the help and support from the AVCA to convince the NCAA to expand the selection committee. The MPSF, according to the meeting minutes, also is considering adding subcommittee comprised of current coaches and USA Volleyball members to further examine increasing the selection committee.