You are here
It was supposed to be Cal traveling to Life and Penn State meeting Lindenwood in Moraga, Calif. on the campus of St. Mary's. Those are the semifinal pairings the original bracket called for. However, D1A decision makers have switched the bracket pairings mid-tournament, so Cal now gets to stay in Northern California and play Lindenwood at St. Mary's, and Penn State will travel to Marietta, Ga. to face Life.
“It’s important that we do what’s best for the growth of the college game,” stated D1A Commissioner Kevin Battle in a release. “Three teams criss-crossing the country with five day’s notice is financially prohibitive.”
The issue arose when injury-riddled St. Mary's was upset by Lindenwood in the quarterfinals. Had the Gaels won, only two teams would have been left traveling long distances.
Attendance for the nationally-televised semifinals was also a concern, as Penn State and Lindenwood playing in Moraga would have been unlikely to draw much of a crowd. The change not only cuts cost for Cal and Penn State, it provides a higher likelihood empty stands won't be beamed across the nation via CBS Sports Network. Relocating the matches wasn't considered, as the venues were already locked in due to television production logistics.
“As we grow our brand and the game, it is important for us to maximize exposure and support the teams, to support the game," said Paul Keeler, D1A executive committe chairman. "Having teams compete regionally helps achieve that goal and helps manage costs to our members.”
The team most negatively impacted is Lindenwood. LU was always going to have to travel to either Life or St. Mary's had it made the semifinal. However, the cost of getting to Life is much lower for the Lions than that of getting to St. Mary's.
The decision on who to send to Marietta and who to send to Moraga between Penn State and Lindenwood appears to have come down to re-seeding. Undefeated Life would be the top seed. Lindenwood's only losses this season have been to Life, and the Lions beat St. Mary's, which beat Cal, so Lindenwood would be the second seed, Cal the third and Penn State the fourth. Such as it is, one plays four and two plays three.
Should the Lions beat Cal and advance to the final, they'll return to Moraga for a third-straight week.
This is the second debacle regarding D1A's postseason this spring. The first came when Notre Dame College bowed out of the playoffs citing budgetary concerns. The Falcons were slotted to travel to Cal in the first round on less than a week's notice, but D1A decision makers refused to make accomodations for NDC in creating the bracket similar to those they made in changing the bracket before the semifinals.