Automatic Qualifiers and At-Large Teams

The NCAA Division I Women's Lacrosse Championship is a 16-team, single-elimination tournament.  Five conferences receive a berth via automatic qualification (AQ).  The remaining teams are selected at large (8) or via play-in games (3).  The AQ conferences are:
American East Conference
American Lacrosse Conference
Atlantic Coast Conference
Big East Conference
Ivy Group
A play-in process for non-automatic-qualifying conferences is used to increase access to the championship.  At least 50 percent of a championship bracket is allocated for AQ or play-in conferences based on the number of eligible conferences and size of bracket.  Play-in conferences are determined by the NCAA Division I Women's Lacrosse Committee using the RPI from the previous season.  Conferences participating in the play-in games for 2012 are
Colonial Athletic Association will host the Northeast Conference
Atlantic 10 Conference will host the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Mountain Pacific Sports Federation will host the Patriot League
See conferences for members and current standings.

To qualify for the tournament, teams must play a minimum of 10 games, and games tied after regulation play must be decided in overtime.

Primary Criteria for Selecting At-Large Teams

To be considered for at-large selection, teams must have a .500 or better record against all opponents.  In evaluating teams, the following factors are considered (in no specific order) by the Division I Women's Lacrosse Committee:
  • Rating Percentage Index (RPI) – see current RPI percentages
  • Head-to-head competition
  • Results vs. common opponents
  • Significant wins and losses
  • Evaluation of the 10 highest-rated teams on an institutions schedule (defined by SOS and winning percentage) – see current SOS percentages
Total of RPI and SOS can be found at this link.

Secondary Criteria for Selecting At-Large Teams

In the event that an analysis of the primary criteria does not result in a decision by the selection committee, they will evaluate late-season performance (last six games [including conference tournaments] – winning percentage and strength of schedule) and results against teams already in the tournament field.

Input is also provided by regional advisory committees.  However, coaches' or other polls or rankings are not used by the selection committee.

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