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Jeremy Villanueva | NCAA.com | December 15, 2021

DI Council expands beach volleyball, women’s ice hockey championships

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The National Collegiate beach volleyball and women's ice hockey brackets will expand effective at the 2022 championships. 

The Division I Council on Wednesday approved the recommendations from the Division I Competition Oversight Committee to increase the Beach Volleyball Championship field to 16 teams and Women's Ice Hockey Championship to 11 teams. Both brackets had eight teams in 2021.

The expansions of both brackets came after an outside review of gender equity issues at all NCAA championships.

"Our leaders in Division I are devoted to ensuring the best quality access to NCAA national championships," said Council chair Shane Lyons, athletics director at West Virginia. "We're thrilled to immediately expand the National Collegiate Beach Volleyball and Women's Ice Hockey Championship brackets as our committees continue to discuss improvements to these championship experiences."

CHAMPIONSHIP HISTORY: Women's ice hockey | Beach volleyball

The NCAA Women's Beach Volleyball Committee recommends bringing all 16 teams to Gulf Shores, Alabama, for the 2022 championship, with the first round beginning May 3. The committee also will implement automatic qualification for those conferences meeting the requirements. The committee continues to review selection criteria for the rest of the field and expects to submit a recommendation in early January. 

The Women's Beach Volleyball Committee will continue to review and discuss the best bracket format for 2023 and beyond. 

The 2022 National Collegiate Women's Ice Hockey Championship will feature the top five seeds in the tournament receiving a first-round bye. The fifth-seeded team will play at the campus site of one of the top four seeds. Three first-round games will be played at the campus sites of three of the top four seeds in the tournament. 

The winners of the first-round games will have a day off before playing in the quarterfinals. The tournament will stay on its current schedule since no weekends will be added with this format. The 2022 Women's Frozen Four is slated for March 18-20 at Penn State. 

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