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DI Competition Oversight Committee approves replacement policy

Decision covers team, individual/team championships

The Division I Competition Oversight Committee on Wednesday approved a replacement policy for spring championships and the remaining fall championships that were moved to the spring semester of the 2020-21 academic calendar.

Committee members put the policy in place to deal with the possibility of a championship field being impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Among the key elements of the policy:

  • Once the bracket or field is finalized and announced, teams will not be reseeded, nor will the bracket or field change.
  • Reasonable efforts will be made to ensure a full field is in place before the start of the championship.
  • Replacement teams and individuals will be considered only prior to or within 24 hours of the announcement of the bracket or field.
  • For championships with automatic qualifying teams, every participating conference should have the opportunity for a minimum of one team in the championship field.

Due to the necessary time needed to coordinate travel and successfully follow NCAA Championships medical protocols, including COVID-19 testing requirements before departure from campus and upon arrival at the competition location, the following replacement team guidelines will apply for the fall and spring Division I and National Collegiate Championships.

Before the announcement of the championship bracket:

  • Should an automatic qualifier, as determined by each conference, be unable to meet the medical protocols and participate in its first game of the championship, the conference may designate a replacement team, as determined by its AQ policy submitted by the deadline. 
  • The replacement AQ team will be appropriately seeded and placed into the bracket before announcement of the championship bracket. 
  • Any potential at-large team unable to meet the medical protocols and participate in its first game of the championship must notify the sport committee before the announcement of the bracket. 

After the announcement of the championship bracket: 

  • Consideration to replace a team (AQ or at-large) unable to participate due to COVID-19 and confirmation of the replacement team must take place within 24 hours after the selection announcement. 
  • If a team is unable to meet medical protocols to participate, an eligible conference may replace its AQ with its preapproved contingency replacement team. 
  • The replacement team must meet all medical protocols and will take the exact place in the bracket of the original conference AQ team. 
  • If the replacement team, based on the approved contingency plan, is already in the field, the committee will replace the AQ with the at-large team ranked first among those not selected. 

For any at-large team unable to meet medical protocols related to COVID-19:

  • The at-large team ranked first among those not selected will be notified and must be able to meet all medical protocols. 
  • The replacement team will take the exact place in the bracket of the original at-large team. 
  • Bracketing principles pertaining to conference matchups will not apply if a replacement team is used. 
  • No replacements will be made beyond 24 hours after the selection announcement. 

If a team must withdraw after competition has begun, opponents would advance via the NCAA’s “no contest” rule.   

The Division I and National Collegiate individual/team championships replacement guidelines are:

  • If an individual sport participant must withdraw from the championships (due to a positive COVID-19 test result or other limiting circumstance), the sport committee will follow its standard procedure for individual replacements (medical scratch). 
  • Replacement of an individual participant must occur within 24 hours after the selection announcement.

Track and field regionals

The committee approved reducing the field size for the East and West preliminary round sites in men’s and women’s outdoor track and field from 48 per individual event to 32. While the preliminary rounds are an important and integral part of the championship format, the reduction will help address COVID-19 concerns associated with a large number of participants. 

Relay events will remain at 24 teams per event. This will reduce the overall championship field by a total of 1,152 (576 per site), or one-third of the field.

Men’s volleyball

The committee approved moving the three opening-round matches of the 2021 National Collegiate Men’s Volleyball Championship to the finals site in Columbus, Ohio. 

Previously, the opening-round matches have been played at nonpredetermined sites.

Men’s and women’s soccer

Committee members discussed a proposal that would consolidate the Division I Men’s and Women’s Soccer Championships by having all 36 men’s teams and 48 women’s teams compete throughout the state of North Carolina.

By having both championships in one geographic location, it would minimize travel and condense the overall time to conduct the championships.

Under the recommendation, the women’s first-round matches would begin April 27-28, and the men’s first-round competition April 29. Both College Cup finals would be May 17.

Committee members would like to discuss this proposal further to gather more details about the recommendation from the Division I Men’s and Women’s Soccer Committees.