October 21, 2013

Playoff field: 24 automatic bids


At 5-0, Wesleyan is in the hunt for a NESCAC title. But not a playoff bid.
Wesleyan athletics photo 

The NCAA sent out an email to members earlier this month with details about the Division III playoff field, stating that there would be 25 automatic bids and four Pool C (at-large bids), in contrast to the 24 and five we had previously written about and discussed on our weekly podcast.

In scanning the listing provided by the NCAA, it was clear they had not erroneously awarded an automatic bid to conferences that are too new to football and don't yet qualify, such as the MASCAC and the SAA. However, we did not think to look at one other conference, and that's where we found their error.

The NCAA handbook awards a football automatic bid to the New England Small College Athletic Conference. The NESCAC has never accepted an automatic bid to the football playoffs in its history, and upon contacting the conference office, we confirmed that they were not going to award one in 2013 either.

We have inserted a quick correction to the Around the Nation podcast based on the erroneous info.

Playoff primer

Automatic bids continue to be awarded to the following 24 conferences: American Southwest Conference; Centennial Conference; College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin; Eastern Collegiate Football Conference; Empire 8; Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference; Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference; Liberty League; Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association; Middle Atlantic Conference; Midwest Conference; Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference; New England Football Conference; New Jersey Athletic Conference; North Coast Athletic Conference; Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference; Northwest Conference; Ohio Athletic Conference; Old Dominion Athletic Conference; Presidents' Athletic Conference; Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference; Upper Midwest Athletic Conference; USA South Athletic Conference; and the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.

If you are not in one of those 24 conferences, there are 3 Pool B bids set aside. That covers eligible independents, as well as members of the MASCAC, SAA, SCAC and UAA.

The remaining spots are at-large: 5 Pool C bids.

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