The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) has announced multiple changes to championship formats that have been designed to improve the overall championship experience for its student-athletes. The changes were voted upon by the NAIA National Administrative Council (NAC) virtual meetings held this week and many will go into effect in the 2020 season.
The NAIA set forth to make significant changes, and while some of the below adjustments were originally slated to go into effect beginning in fall of 2021, the association deemed it vital to make these changes a year in advance to help positively impact the financial burden on its institutions immediately.
“We are pleased with the approval of these changes, as they will enhance the experience of the NAIA’s national championship structure,” said Jim Carr, NAIA President and CEO. “These changes will also greatly assist our schools in lowering costs, which was also a focus from a national perspective.”
The NAIA Women’s Volleyball championship format has been a topic of conversation for several years amongst coaches and administrators alike, trying to find a way to avoid multiple games a day for teams in the latter stages of the championship.
The new format will lessen the final site field to 24 teams (down from 32) and will include eight pools of three (down from four) teams. Currently, the top two teams of each pool advance to single elimination play, but in the new format, a team must win its pool to advance to the eight-team, single elimination bracket. The smaller pools also allow for the elimination of early morning and late evening matches and will allow for the semifinal and championship matches to be played on a separate day.