CENTERVILLE, Mass. — ECAC athletic directors have given their stamp of approval to a plan that would expand the ECAC tournament by one weekend, include all 12 teams, and result in a Final Four in Lake Placid.
The expansion to include all 12 teams was an idea that came out of the coaches’ meetings in April. Initially, the new format would have included six best-of-3 first round series, followed by a Final Six scenario in Lake Placid.
During the ECAC athletic directors’ meetings, an alternative plan was proposed that would create an extra weekend of games. In this plan, seeds No. 5-12 will play in a first-round best-of-3 series, followed by a quarterfinal best-of-3 series the following weekend, with those four series winners heading to Lake Placid.
Because of the need for an extra weekend, the ECAC will delay the format change until 2002-2003. That’s the year the NCAA tournament will be moved back a week, giving an extra weekend during the regular season.
However, because this format has the potential to increase the amount of games an ECAC team plays by three, it must be approved by the league’s Policy Committee, an oversight committee made up of non-sports representatives from each member school.
The Policy Committee has another major piece of legislation on their plate, the increase in allowable in-season games for non-Ivy teams from 32 to 34.
Athletic directors have already approved both measures.
The ADs have also given final approval to expanding the first round of the women’s ECAC tournament from a single-elimination to a best-of-3.
All three measures will be discussed during an upcoming Policy Committee conference call. ECAC assistant commissioner Steve Hagwell said he hopes to schedule the conference call for mid-July, or “certainly by the end of July.”