Women’s college golf gets good news that comes with one small question

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Three additional schools will have a chance to compete for the NCAA D-I women’s title this spring at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale. On Monday, the NCAA announced it is expanding the size of the field at the women’s national championship from 24 teams to 27 beginning in 2023.

“There is extreme importance in providing as many participation opportunities as possible for our student-athletes,” said Brad Hurlbut, director of athletics at Fairleigh Dickinson, and chair of the Division I Women’s Golf Committee, in a statement. “With an additional three teams qualifying for the finals site, up to an additional 18 deserving women’s golf student-athletes will have an opportunity to compete in the national championship finals, which is an important step for the sport of women’s golf and the championship.”

The number of schools qualifying for the NCAA women’s postseason will remain at 72, with 12 teams playing at each of six regional sites. However, by letting three more schools advance to nationals, the percentage of teams moving on from regionals will equal that of the men’s NCAA Championship (81 teams playing for 30 spots).

The tricky part, however, in expanding by only three teams is that an unequal number of schools will advance from the six regionals, with four teams moving on from three sites and five teams from the other three sites. According to the NCAA, the D-I Women’s Committee will create a “strength-of-field” metric to help determine the regional sites that receive the extra bid to the national championship. More is no doubt better in this scenario, but it comes with the potential for some controversy regarding which regionals will get the extra qualifier.

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