NCAA Division I Board Approves Automatic Qualification

Colorado Springs, Colo. -- During its April 27 meeting, the NCAA Division I Board of Directors approved the recommendations from the NCAA Management Council to amend the criteria that a member institution and/or member conference must satisfy in order to receive automatic qualification into an NCAA Division I championship. As a result of this action, the Mountain West Conference will be eligible for automatic qualification consideration in all sports beginning in the 2000-2001 season.

The respective NCAA sport committees will determine which conferences (including the Mountain West) will be granted automatic qualification status to NCAA Championships in each sport.

NCAA Bylaw 31.3.5 related to automatic qualification for sports other than men's basketball was amended to include the following provision:

To be considered eligible for automatic qualification, a member conference must include six core institutions that satisfy continuity of membership. For the purposes of this legislation, core refers to an institution that has been an active member of Division I the eight preceding years.Further, the continuity-of-membership requirement shall be met only if a minimum of six core institutions have conducted conference competition together in Division I the preceding two years. There shall be no exceptions to the two-year waiting period.

In Division I Men's Basketball, the bylaw has been amended to read in part as follows:

The member conference must include seven core institutions that satisfy continuity of membership to be considered for automatic qualification in men's basketball. For the purposes of this legislation, core refers to an institution that has been an active member of Division I the eight preceding years. Further, the continuity-of-membership requirement shall be met only if a minimum of six core institutions have conducted conference competition together in Division I the preceding five years in men's basketball.

The Management Council added to the recommendation the following:

A one-year grace period to permit any conference whose membership falls below seven core institutions, provided the conference maintains continuity of membership, to remain eligible for automatic qualification into the Division I Men's Basketball Championship.

"We are pleased with the results of yesterday's NCAA Board of Directors meeting and are glad to have this matter behind us," commented Mountain West Conference Commissioner Craig Thompson. "To date, our at-large success for team sports competing in NCAA postseason competition has been very impressive and now eligibility for automatic bids in 2000-2001 will only enhance the regular-season competition among Mountain West Conference institutions."