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Super regional format added to DI tennis

Modification to begin for 2019 championships

A super regional format is coming to the Division I Men’s and Women’s Tennis Championships in 2019.

That year, the 16 teams advancing from first and second rounds of the tournament will participate in two-team super regionals on the campuses of the higher-seeded teams. The eight super regional winners for each gender will then advance to the finals site. The Division I Competition Oversight Committee supported the change Tuesday during its meeting at the NCAA Convention in Nashville, Tennessee.

Currently, teams advancing out of the second round move directly to the finals site. Part of the rationale for the change is to provide teams with another opportunity to generate local support and highlight their programs in a championship-caliber competition.

The Division I Men’s and Women’s Tennis Committee also believes the super regional round will address existing scheduling challenges presented by the current Division I Men’s and Women’s Tennis Championships format.

The number of teams advancing to the finals site will be reduced from 16 to eight per gender. That will in turn reduce the days of competition from six to four and eliminate the strain of completing eight matches on each of the first two days of competition. The format will also provide scheduling flexibility in the event of inclement weather.

In another change slated for the 2018 championships, the Division I Competition Oversight Committee will allow the tennis committee to place the unseeded teams (Nos. 17-64) geographically in the bracket rather than assign them in pods as is currently done.

The change followed a request from the Competition Oversight Committee last October that asked the tennis committee to either justify or consider modifying its bracketing policies and procedures that vary from the general principles established for all Division I team championships, excluding men’s and women’s basketball.

Through its research, the tennis committee determined that the tennis bracketing principles should be consistent with the general principles. The change will be beneficial for student-athletes, who will miss less class time and spend less time on the road.

Men’s golf

Substitutions will now be permitted during the match-play portion of the Division I Men’s Golf Championships finals, beginning with the 2017 event.

The Division I Men’s Golf Committee believes that teams should be able to substitute a player, at the coach’s discretion, during the match-play portion of the championships. Committee members believe the new policy benefits the injured or sick golfer’s team, but it also would prevent the opposing golfer from having to sit out perhaps the most important match of his competitive career because of a forfeit.

Baseball

The Competition Oversight Committee amended the safety net considerations in the Division I Baseball Committee’s selection principles. Now, No. 1 seeds from the same conference will be separated so they will not meet in the super regionals, unless there are nine or more teams from a single conference receiving a No. 1 seed.

That scenario would most likely happen rarely, if ever. But the safety net considerations in the selection principles document do not currently address that unique scenario that could potentially occur.