Women’s rowing is one of three Division I sports whose championship brackets will expand in 2013. In August, the NCAA Executive Committee approved a budget that included a recommendation from the Division I Championships/Sport Management Cabinet to expand championships in the Division I Football Championship Subdivision, women’s lacrosse and rowing.
The two women’s sports will expand their brackets in the spring of 2013, while the FCS bracket will expand in the fall of 2013 (not this season). The FCS bracket will grow from 20 to 24 teams, the women’s lacrosse bracket will increase from 16 to 26 teams, and rowing moves from 16 to 22 teams.
Expansion in the two women’s sports is consistent with the Executive Committee’s charge to ensure that equitable opportunities exist in light of the bracket expansion for the FCS championship.
In women’s lacrosse, all 13 conference champions will receive automatic qualification into the field. The remaining 13 teams will be at-large selections.
The top eight teams will be seeded in the bracket and will host first- and second-round games. The top six seeded teams will receive byes into the second round and serve as hosts for a neutral-site first-round game May 10. The first-round winners then play at the top-six seeded teams May 12. The teams seeded seventh and eighth will also host, but they will have to play a first-round game May 10.
The quarterfinals are at campus sites May 18 or 19, with the four winners advancing to the finals May 24-26.
For the FCS championship, all 11 conference champions receive automatic qualification into the bracket. The remaining 13 teams are selected at large.
The top eight teams will be seeded and receive first-round byes. The remaining 16 teams would bid to host first-round games. Geography and travel costs will play a role when the committee makes pairings in the bracket.