NESCAC Suspends Rule Prohibiting At-Large Bids to NCAAs

The presidents of the 11 members of NESCAC have agreed to suspend for 2001-02 the rule prohibiting NESCAC teams from accepting NCAA at-large bids. The one-year exemption was approved while discussions continue over reforming conference rules on post-season play.

Without the exemption, only the NESCAC tournament champion would have been allowed to accept an NCAA bid for the forthcoming season.

The ten-member Division III NESCAC men’s hockey conference separated from the ECAC East to conduct its own post-season tournament in the 2000-01 season, although the two conferences maintain an interlocking schedule. As NESCAC tournament champion last season, Middlebury received the conference’s first NCAA automatic qualifier.

In other action, the presidents approved a recommendation by conference athletic directors to retain the seven-team post-season tournament in men’s hockey as well as in other sports.