Do Conference Championships Matter? The NCAA Basically Says No

Do Conference Championships Matter? The NCAA Basically Says No

The NCAA announced the 62 team field for the Division III Men’s Soccer Championship today and I want to know who the Babson College team knows on the selection committee as they received the draw of the century.

Yesterday I went to the New England Women’s & Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Men’s Soccer Championship Game to support my alma mater Springfield College and two players, who are Sport Management students, that I got to know and watch develop into some great guys both in the classroom and on the field. In the Championship, Springfield played against Wheaton College who had beaten Babson the previous day in the semifinals. It was a hard fought game between both teams and ultimately Springfield came out on top which earned them an automatic qualifying bid into the NCAA Tournament.

Fast forward to 1:00 PM today. The selection show has started and it is now time to see who Springfield will face in the first round. The host is going through all of the regions until he eventually says the Rowan will host a region and play against Lehman and the other game in the region is Springfield vs. Tufts. Tufts was the 2014 National Champion who this year was upset in their league quarterfinals. While I think this will be a great match-up between two New England teams, I think it is fair to say this is a tough draw for a Springfield team who finished the season at 18-1-1 especially when you consider what happened later in the bracket.

After a couple more teams were said, the selection show host announced the next host team would be Babson. I thought there must have been a mistake at first, there was no way that Babson who had just lost in the NEWMAC semifinals was getting to host their group as a top seed. I could understand them making the tournament with an at-large bid but not being a top seed for a group. Babson posted a record of 11-5-3 this season and in the most recent rankings were #3 in New England behind 2015 National Champion and 2016 NESCAC Champion Amherst and UMass Boston, 2016 Little East Champions with a record of 17-1-2. From these rankings, you would assume both teams higher than Babson would get to host their group as well. Well, you would be wrong to assume that. Amherst does have that opportunity as the #1 seed on their side of the bracket along with a first round bye. UMass Boston on the other hand has to make the trip to Haverford, PA for their group.

I would love to be able to sit in on the meeting with the Division III Soccer Committee and hear how they could possibly come up with a reason to explain how Babson gets to host this upcoming weekend when UMass Boston, who was ranked higher than Babson, and Springfield, who won the NEWMAC Championship which Babson is a part of, both have to travel to Pennsylvania and New Jersey, respectively. This committee could not have been impartial in this process and seems quite biased towards Babson.

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