Playoff format changed for NCAA Championship, substitutions expanded again

Playoff format changed for NCAA Championship, substitutions expanded again

College

Playoff format changed for NCAA Championship, substitutions expanded again

A different playoff structure at the NCAA Championship and the potential for the substitution rule to expand to even earlier in the season have arrived.

The NCAA announced earlier this month that its Division I Competition Oversight Committee has approved an adjustment in how team playoffs are conducted at the Division I men’s NCAA Championship.

The approved change states that, starting in 2019, an aggregate playoff counting scores of all five players on each of the competing teams will be used for extra-holes sessions needed to narrow the field from 30 to 15 and from 15 to eight. These playoffs will be conducted in a shotgun format, with the teams competing on five different holes simultaneously.

Previously, a proverbial scorecard playoff was used (if needed) to narrow the field at the Division I men’s NCAA Championship from 30 to 15. That procedure was a tiebreaker in which the team(s) with the lowest total of its non-counting scores over the first three rounds (the 30 to 15 cut is done after 54 holes of stroke play) advanced.

This tiebreaker was introduced for the 2015-16 season and came into play at the 2016 NCAA Championship as five teams sat in a tie for 14th after 54 holes. Only two of those five could advance and the two with the lowest scores in this tiebreaking procedure did.

The 15-to-eight playoff at the Division I men’s NCAA Championship (needed after 72 holes of stroke play) had previously counted the low four scores of five team members relative to par in extra holes.

The competition oversight committee also made an approval that could expand substitutions yet again.

The announcement from the NCAA stated that the committee approved a recommendation for substitutions to be permitted during all conference championships that determine automatic qualifiers.

This now allows each AQ conference the ability to choose whether it wants to include substitutions in its championship.

This potential expansion comes just over a year after the committee expanded the substitution rule to be allowed for the whole of the Division I men’s NCAA Championship and Division I men’s NCAA regionals.

The NCAA also announced that the committee had approved a proposal that said courses hosting a regional will not be allowed to host a regular-season tournament or conference championship during the prior academic year.

The committee will provide a waiver, though, for any site that has a previously scheduled event for the 2018-19 season.

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