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NCAA Proposal Would Limit National D-III Men’s and Women’s Hockey Tournaments to No More Than Nine Teams in Total | College Hockey

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The Division III Championship Committee on Tuesday recommended that, due to concerns about COVID-19, the winter and spring 2021 brackets and field dimensions should not exceed 75 percent of their standard capacity.

For both men’s and women’s hockey, this means no more than nine teams in their respective national tournaments instead of the standard 12.

According to the NCAAA caveat to the proposal is that if a sport’s maximum number of assigned automatic qualifiers exceeds the 75 percent threshold, the championship could expand the field to accommodate any automatic berth. This is in line with the Division III philosophy of emphasizing convention competition. The main goal of the committees was to maintain entry into NCAA championships through automatic qualification.

This decision was not lightly, Kiki Jacobs, committee chair and the director of athletics at Roger Williams, said in a statement. We concluded that this was the best way to provide high-quality championship experiences to student athletes. Given obligations to prepare sites and follow required health protocols, the committee had to make the tough decision to recommend fewer opportunities this year.

The recommendation will work its way through the Division III governance structure, including getting feedback from winter and spring sports committees, before the Board and Chairmen make a final decision in October.

On the recommendation of the newly expanded NCAA COVID-19 Medical Advisory Group, all tournament sites will be predetermined in an effort to safely host winter championships. Testing and other hygiene protocol requirements will increase overall spending on winter and spring championships, adding about $ 9 million in additional costs, which ultimately led the committee to make its recommendation.

Committee members recommended reducing NCAA championship brackets and field sizes after considering several other cost-cutting measures, including measures that would have carried the cost over to the participating schools.

The committee also voted, again, due to COVID-19, to lower the winter sports minimums to 50 percent in order to qualify for championships in 2021.

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