College: Women's Division I field may expand to 64 teams

News from the NCAA Division I women's soccer committee meeting in Santa Fe, N.M.: ò Expansion of the women's Division I field from 48 to 64 teams is the Division I Championships/Competition Cabinet's highest priority for 2001-02 along with men's soccer (32 to 48). ò Southern Methodist University in Dallas is hosting the 2001 final, and 2002 is set for the University of Texas at Austin. ò The following 20 conferences were recommended for automatic qualification (if bracket expansion is not approved): the America East, Atlantic Coast, Atlantic 10, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Big West, Mid-American, Midwestern Collegiate, Missouri Valley, Mountain West, Pacific-10, Southeastern, Southern, West Coast Conference, Western Athletic Conference; the Colonial Athletic Association; Conference USA; the Ivy League and the Patriot League. ò If the bracket is not expanded to 64 teams, the following conferences would participate in a play-in: the Big Sky would host the Southland; the Mid-Continent would host the Ohio Valley ; the Northeast would host the MAAC; and the TAAC would host the Big South. ò The women's committee discussed changes to the first-round format if a 48-team bracket remains. Though midweek games cannot be avoided, the committee did discuss Friday games. It needs to maintain Friday as an option for schools that face scheduling and hotel competition with major Saturday football games. The committee noted it will give final authorization, and the visiting teams will not have the option of requesting a change of playing date.
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