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Automatic Bids for the NCAA Tournament

I took a look at the NCAA bylaws regarding conference championships and automatic bids. Based on what I found, I am not convinced the ACC - or Atlantic Sun - will have an automatic auto-bid for the men's lax tournament next year.

Here is the most relevant NCAA bylaw that I found regarding automatic bids:

31.3.4.2 Requirements-National Collegiate Championship. [#] To be eligible for automatic qualification in a National Collegiate Championship, a member conference must meet the following general requirements: (Adopted: 1/9/06 effective 8/1/06)
(a) Have at least six active members that sponsor the applicable sport in any division (Note: A provisional member in the process of becoming an NCAA member cannot be used to meet the requisite number.);
(b) The six active members must have conducted conference competition together for the preceding two years in the applicable sport;
(c) There shall be no waivers of the two-year waiting period; and
(d) Any new member added to a conference that is eligible for an automatic bid shall be immediately eligible to represent the conference as the automatic qualifier.

The key points, in my opinion, are the "together" phrase in part be and the "no waivers" clause of part (c):

(b) The six active members must have conducted conference competition together for the preceding two years in the applicable sport;

(c) There shall be no waivers of the two-year waiting period;

If that means that those six teams in a conference must have played in the same conference for two years, then I would interpret that to mean:

(1) the ACC will not get an automatic bid anytime soon, since they will only have six teams together for one year;

(2) the Atlantic Sun will not get an automatic bid until 2016 (the 2-year requirement is complete after the 2014 & 2015 seasons);

(3) the Big Ten will not get an automatic bid until 2017 (the 2-year requirement is complete after the 2015 & 2016 seasons).

As for the NEC (which is losing its sixth team), this bylaw seems to apply (part re: multi-sport conferences ignored; part re: grace period emphasized):

31.3.4.4 Additional Requirements, Sports Other Than Men's Basketball.
31.3.4.4.1 Multi-Sport Conference. To be considered eligible for automatic qualification in a particular sport, a multi-sport conference (see Bylaw 20.02.6) must be a core conference (see Bylaw 31.02.3) and must include six institutions that sponsor the sport and conduct conference competition together. (Revised: 4/27/00, 10/00, 4/29/04 effective 8/1/04, 8/5/04, 1/15/11 effective 8/1/11)
31.3.4.4.1.1 Exception. A multi-sport conference that adds a conference-sponsored sport may be considered for automatic qualification in that sport, provided the conference includes at least six active Division I institutions that have conducted conference competition together at the Division I level in the sport the preceding two years and the sport is sponsored by less than 50 percent of the Division I membership. (Adopted: 4/27/06 effective 8/1/06)
31.3.4.4.2 Single-Sport Conference. To be considered for automatic qualification in a particular sport, a single-sport member conference for a sport sponsored by less than 50 percent of the Division I membership must include six institutions that have conducted conference competition together the preceding two years in the sport in question at the Division I level. (Adopted: 8/5/04, Revised: 4/27/06 effective 8/1/06)
31.3.4.4.3 Grace Period. A conference shall remain eligible for automatic qualification for two years following the date of the withdrawal of the institution(s) that causes the conference's membership to fall below six institutions that sponsor the sport and conduct conference competition together, provided the conference maintains at least five Division I members. (Adopted: 8/5/04, Revised: 1/15/11 effective 8/1/11)

So if I understand the grace period correctly, the NEC will keep their automatic bid for 2014, and will maintain it as long as they add someone else soon (e.g. Hobart).

Thoughts?

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