As expected, the The Division III Men’s Ice Hockey Committee has voted to recommend expansion for its championship.
The group approved a recommendation to the Division III Championships Cabinet requesting that the championship be expanded from its current eight-team bracket to nine or 10 teams. If approved, the new system would be used for the 2002-2003 season.
Two options were proposed, a nine-team bracket with a five-four East-West split, or a 10-team bracket with six Eastern teams and four from the West.
There are are currently 67 Division III teams, and the additional of Utica College for the 2001-2002 season will bring the total to 68. The current ratio for Division III is one championship slot for every 7.5 teams, so 68 teams would translate into 9.07 eligible teams.
There is also a recommendation before the NCAA to reduce the ratio from 1 in 7.5 to 1 in 7 across all of Division III, increasing the number of at-large bids for all sports. This would bring the number of teams in the NCAA D-III ice hockey championships to 9.7, or close to 10.
The committee also voted to contact the competing institutions immediately after the selection call in order to allow teams to make travel arrangements as soon as possible. In the past, some teams have not been notified until mid-day on Monday, and the championships begin that Friday afternoon.
It was also decided that all Western schools would be contacted to see if any are interested in putting in a bid for a pre-determined site for the 2001-2002 championships. This should increase the likelihood of a Western location for this season’s ultimate prize.