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The men’s DII season is underway, and the playoff
structure and exact makeup of the division is undetermined.
A number of DII conferences have been created, with at least 17 being approved by the College Competitions Committee weeks ago. However, there are still several DII teams who have not joined an independent conference, and some of the newly formed leagues don’t have enough playoff-eligible teams to garner an automatic bid.
Of those conferences, some include teams that should be competing in DI, per the restructure, given that their school’s football teams compete in the Football Bowl Subdivision. For example, the Deep South Conference includes six FBS schools -- Tulane, Troy, South Alabama, Southern Mississippi, Louisiana Lafayette and Louisiana Tech. The Deep South also includes two NSCRO teams and just three playoff-eligible teams.
In California, the creation of DI conferences has left the state with few DII schools and no current league to speak of, though work is being done to create at least one DII conference.
When the dust settles and all the DII leagues are identified and accounted for, there could well be more than 16 in the country, and the idea of expanding the postseason to 32 teams or to include play-in games is on the table.
“Addressing the national issue, where you’re going to be looking at who gets into the national playoffs, that has to be done very carefully to insure fairness,” said USA Rugby Collegiate Director Rich Cortez.
“If you have more than 16 (leagues), you can’t exclude two based on the fact that you don’t like them. You’ve got to have a system in place to allow the teams that are playing well to go through.”