(STATS) – No conference spoke louder against the FCS playoff pairings following the 2015 season than the Missouri Valley Football Conference.
There’s always some dissatisfaction with NCAA postseason pairings – usually when a team feels it was snubbed of an at-large bid – but MVFC members were upset about having all five of its playoff qualifiers grouped together in one half of the 24-team pairings. North Dakota State survived the mini-Valley invitational and went on to win the national title.
The following offseason, the NCAA Division I Council voted to adjust the selection process to guarantee conferences with at least four qualifiers would be split over the two sides of the pairings.
In 2016, four MVFC qualifiers were split evenly between the two sides. Last year, the split of the conference’s five qualifiers was three and two.
On Monday, MVFC commissioner Patty Viverito expressed satisfaction over the difference in the last two playoffs since the 2015 scenario, which she called “just silly.”
“The good news coming out of that,” she said on an MVFC preseason teleconference, “was everybody recognized that that was not a place we wanted to be in the bracket nationally and they actually adopted an NCAA policy that will prevent that from happening in the future.
“I thought that last year especially the committee did a much better job of sort of nationalizing the bracket.”
Northern Iowa coach Mark Farley credited Viverito on the teleconference with the way she “moved the needle” with the rule. UNI still wound up playing another MVFC program, South Dakota State, in last year’s playoffs.
The FCS playoffs have been fairly regional to minimize travel and expenses. They were expanded to 24 teams in 2013.