You are here

Division II Championships Committee supports new seeding model at the men’s basketball Elite Eight

The committee also endorsed new regional models in football, men’s lacrosse

The Division II Championships Committee voted in support of adding a new round of seeding at the Division II men’s basketball tournament this year, a move aimed at improving the matchups at the championship games.

Under the recommendation brought forward by the Division II Men’s Basketball Committee, teams advancing in the tournament would receive a new seed following their regional tournaments. The men’s basketball committee would seed all teams at the Elite Eight based on evaluation of the selection criteria. 

This change would potentially eliminate the occurrence of the top teams meeting before the championship game by allowing those teams to be placed on opposite sides of the bracket. Currently, top teams may meet earlier in the tournament based upon a regional rotation set up by the men’s basketball committee.

Lisa Sweany, the athletics director at Armstrong State University and chair of the Championships Committee, said other sport committees in Division II, including the women’s basketball committee, are exploring concepts of seeding teams at the final rounds of championship tournaments. The men’s basketball committee was the first to bring forward a formal recommendation. “We have the information now that can allow us to do this in a fair and equitable manner and put a lot of excitement into that tournament,” Sweany said.

The concept was broached in the 2013 Division II Membership Census, where about half of the athletics directors, coaches and presidents who responded agreed that the Division II championships policy should allow seeding after regional tournaments.

The Division II Management Council must approve the recommendation in October in order for seeding of the Elite Eight to begin at the 2016 tournament. 

Regional alignments

The Championships Committee also approved recommendations related to new regional alignments in football and men’s lacrosse that could change teams’ paths to the postseason tournament.

The Division II football and men’s lacrosse committees both recommended new regional models with the goal of providing more equitable access to their sport’s championship for teams across the country while maintaining the geographic principles of regionalization.

In football, the current regional model consists of four “super regions” that range in number from 30 football-sponsoring schools in one super region to 49 schools in other super regions. Beginning this year, each super region will have seven postseason berths. In an effort to adopt a new model that more equitably distributes teams among four super regions, the Division II Football Committee explored a variety of realignment options and gathered feedback from the Division II membership. Sixty-two percent of athletics directors at football-playing schools and conference commissioners who responded to a survey in August preferred the model that was endorsed by the Championships Committee this week.

The proposed model would assign four conferences per super region, with the smallest region consisting of 42 football-sponsoring schools and the largest consisting of 45.

Similarly, in the growing Division II sport of men’s lacrosse, the Championships Committee supported a new model that would better balance the teams in the sport’s two regions. The proposed model would take the north region from 24 to 32 schools and the south region from 41 to 36.

The Division II Management Council will vote on both models in October and, if approved, the models will take effect in September 2017.

Membership-sponsored proposals

Additionally, the Championships Committee established its stance on three 2016 Convention proposals sponsored by Division II members. Committee members voted to:

  • Support a proposal that would allow football players to receive individual skill instruction outside the playing season but during the academic year.
  • Support a proposal that would – in the sports of baseball, softball and women’s volleyball – permit up to two contests played as a “conference challenge event” to be exempted from the maximum limits on contests.
  • Take no position on a proposal that would allow basketball teams to begin on-court preseason practice 15 days earlier and limit the number of days (30) that teams could practice or condition during the preseason.