The DII College Sweet 16 is scheduled to kick off in just over three weeks, and there’s still a lot up in the air. Two of the three regional sites are determined, but a third hasn’t yet been identified, and 13 of the automatic bids have been linked to a conference, but there’s still a question about a possible 14th automatic bid.
These can be seen as growing pains in the process of moving the championships from the spring to the fall, a move that wasn’t confirmed by USA Rugby until late July.
For the rounds of 16 and eight Nov. 23 and 24, Salisbury, Md. is home to one four-team regional, and James Madison is hosting another two regionals in Harrisonburg, Va. USA Rugby is still trying to nail down the fourth site, which would be its western-most. The Semifinals and Finals will be at Furman University in Greenville, SC Dec. 7 and 8.
13 conferences have automatic bids. There are three entities from which a 14th automatic bid might emerge – the Gold Coast Conference Intercollegiate Rugby, Colorado College and a group of teams from Northern California. It’s not clear exactly what the process or pathway would be for Colorado College or the winner of either the NorCal bunch or the Gold Coast.
What is known are the 13 conferences who have an automatic berth. Of them, only one has crowned its champion, the Northern Lights. Minnesota-Duluth has punched its ticket to a second-straight Sweet 16 by going 6-0.
Below are the other conferences who have an automatic bid and where they are in the process of naming a champion.
Cardinals – Will be decided Saturday when Old Dominion visits James Madison. Winner gets bid.
Deep South – Nov. 9 Championship Game between ULL and Troy.
Gateway – Principia, Southern Illinois, Central Missouri and SLU all still in it with two weeks to go.
Great Lakes – Grand Valley State has clinched the North Division with an undefeated record and will face the South champ, which looks like it might be Kent State.
MARC – Quarterfinals Saturday, Semifinals Nov. 9 and final Nov. 16.
York @ Notre Dame College
Villanova @ IUP
Scranton @ Rowan
Lock Haven @ Drexel
New England – Semifinals Saturday
Rhode Island vs. Norwich
Coast Guard vs. New Hampshire.
NY Upstate – Quarterfinals Saturday
Le Moyne vs. Buffalo State
Hamilton vs. Colgate
Niagara vs. Oswego
Geneseo vs. Ithaca
Potomac – Semifinals/Finals Nov. 2/3
Salisbury vs. John’s Hopkins
Towson vs. Georgetown
Rugby Northeast – Nov. 9 Championship Game. Bryant is in the conference final, and they’ll likely meet either UMass Lowell or Bentley.
Southern – Nov. 9 Semifinals, Nov. 16 Championship Game. UNC-Wilmington has clinched the Coastal Division, Furman the Mountain Division and Appalachian State the wild card spot. UNC-Charlotte can clinch the Piedmont Division with a pair of wins this weekend in games they’ll be favored. If Charlotte falters, East Carolina still has a chance to get into the semis.
Tri-State – Fairfield, Marist, Seton Hall, Vassar and Molloy all still in hunt for Nov. 10 semifinals and finals.
WIIL – Saturday Quarterfinals, Semis/Finals Nov. 9/10
Northwestern vs. UW-Whitewater
UW-Milwaukee vs. Illinois State
Loyola vs. UW-Stout
Marquette vs. Western Illinois