ECC Paves Way for League Tourney in '14
The East Coast Conference Athletic Director's Council has approved the addition of lacrosse conference tournaments starting with the 2014 season, according to ECC commissioner Bob Dranoff.
"We are finalizing plans this year for a championship tournament for both the men and women in 2014," wrote Dranoff in an email. "Our ADs council approved [it] this past spring. I think the actual plan and dates, and how they fit in with the schedule, need to be reviewed again, but it looks like it is coming together pretty well."
The ECC is one of two NCAA Division II leagues that does not currently sponsor a postseason tournament for its men's or women's programs (the geographically enormous Western Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association is the other).
The ECC has not sponsored a tournament in the past for two reasons.
First, the lack of automatic qualifiers at the Division II level has not made it a necessity. Second, the relatively large footprint of the league, which ranged from New York City to Western Pennslyvania and West Virginia, made it prohibitive. With the departure of associate members Mercyhurst, Seton Hill and Wheeling Jesuit on the men's side made the move more feasible from an academic and budgetary perspective.
"The conference membership change does make things a bit easier, but also the expansion of the DII tournament to eight teams [on the men's side] helps, too," wrote Dranoff.
This past spring was the last season that the men's NCAA Division II tournament featured only four teams, and that will expand next year to eight bids along with a shift from a three-region system to a North-South format.