The NCAA beach volleyball and women’s ice hockey brackets will be expanded starting with this season’s championship events.
The Division I Council on Wednesday approved the recommendations from the Division I Competition Oversight Committee to increase the beach volleyball tourmament field to 16 teams and women’s ice hockey tournament to 11 teams. Both brackets had eight teams in 2021.
The expansions comes after a review of gender equity issues at NCAA championships.
“Our leaders in Division I are devoted to ensuring the best quality access to NCAA national championships,” said Council Chair Shane Lyons, athletics director at West Virginia. “We’re thrilled to immediately expand the National Collegiate Beach Volleyball and Women’s Ice Hockey Championship brackets as our committees continue to discuss improvements to these championship experiences.”
The NCAA Women’s Beach Volleyball Committee will have 16 teams in Gulf Shores, Alabama, with the first round beginning May 3. The committee also will implement automatic qualification for conferences meeting the requirements. The committee continues to review selection criteria for the rest of the field and will discuss the best bracket format for 2023 and beyond.
The 2022 National Collegiate Women’s Ice Hockey Championship will feature the top five seeds in the tournament receiving a first-round bye. The fifth-seeded team will play at the campus site of one of the top four seeds. Three first-round games will be played at the campus sites of three of the top four seeds in the tournament. The tournament will stay on its current schedule since no weekends will be added with this format. The 2022 Women’s Frozen Four is March 18–20 at Penn State.