The first step has been taken to expand the men’s volleyball NCAA Tournament.
The NCAA Division I Competition Oversight Committee during its July meeting approved in principle to expand the bracket for the national championship event by five teams to 12 schools starting in 2024.
The Competition Oversight Committee, according to the meeting minutes, agreed that tournament expansion was appropriate given the recent growth of the sport. However, the expansion proposal will need to be more formally considered during the committee’s upcoming budget cycle review next year.
The NCAA finances most team travel and match-related costs associated with the NCAA Tournament. The decision to expand the tournament would likely increase the expenses to run the tournament.
Men’s volleyball committee chair Tim O’Brien said this possible expansion is great for the sport but several more steps need to take place before it is finalized.
“The fact that the COC supported the expansion in concept — given the growth in sponsorship and to keep the sport in line with the bracket access percentages that have been central to the review of recent bracket considerations — is a big step for expansion and an affirmation of all the hard work put forth by players, coaches, administrators, and countless advocates over the years,” O’Brien said to Off the Block. “The committee understands there is still work to do to get final approvals through the governance structure, but we are excited by this result and we look forward to the feedback from the upcoming budget review in spring 2023.”
Almost 20 schools have added NCAA Division I-II men’s volleyball teams since 2010. The SIAC and NEC also have sponsored men’s volleyball in recent years to expand the number of men’s volleyball conferences to seven.
If this NCAA Tournament proposal is approved, it will be the third time the tournament has expanded in the last 10 years.
The tournament in 2014 expanded from four to six teams with the addition of the ConfCarolinas. It also expanded to seven teams in 2018 following the Big West sponsoring men’s volleyball.