2016 NCAA Regional Rankings
The NCAA regional rankings are done by the same regional and national committees which will make the at-large selections for the men's and women's NCAA tournaments and the rankings are done by applying the same criteria which is used for making the at-large selections. The rankings are released following the fourth last, third last, and second last weeks prior to the tournament selections being made. Therefore, by design, these rankings are a direct foreshadowing of the at-large selections providing a certain level of transparency to the at-large selection process. It is for this reason that these rankings are so important and meaningful.
All information about the regional rankings is found in the Division III Soccer Pre-Championship Manual. Much of what follows highlights, summarizes, or quotes the manual.
The NCAA regional rankings are done by the eight-member NCAA Division III Men's and Women's Soccer Committees which are each composed of the chairs of their respective regional advisory committees. The Regional Advisory Committees assist the national committee in evaluating teams. These are the same national and regional committees which will make the Pool B and Pool C at-large selections for the men's and women's NCAA tournaments. The members of these committees can be found on pages 10-13 of the Pre-Championship Manual.
As per the Pre-Championship Manual (pgs. 13, 18 and 19), the rankings will be released on the following dates which correspond to the last three Wednesdays prior to the tournament selections being made and the Monday that the at-large selections and tournament fields are announced:
• Wednesday, October 19
• Wednesday, October 26
• Wednesday, November 2
• Monday, November 7
Like the NSCAA and D3Soccer.com rankings, they are based on results through the Sunday prior to their release.
Where to find the Rankings
The rankings are posted by the NCAA on their Division III men's and women's soccer webpages under "Rankings" where you must select the "Regional Rankings" option from the pull-down menu. They are also conveniently available here on our site from the “Rankings” pull-down menu above or by clicking on the following links:
Size of the Rankings
The number of teams ranked differs from region to region and from men to women based on the number of eligible teams in each region. The top 15 percent of eligible teams (or a minimum of four) are ranked by the committees. As per the Pre-Championship Manual (pgs. 18-19), the number of teams to be ranked in 2016 is as follows:
New England Region—12
South Atlantic Region—8
Great Lakes Region—8
New England Region—12
South Atlantic Region—9
Great Lakes Region—8
The only changes from last year are that one more men's team will be ranked in the East and Mid-Atlantic regions, and one less men's team will be ranked in the North region. The regional alignments, school sponsorship, and eligibility by region can be found in Appendices B and C (“Men's Sponsorship” and "Women's Sponsorship, respectively) of the Pre-Championship Manual (pgs. 28-43).
The rankings are done by applying the same criteria which is used for making the at-large tournament selections. The at-large selection criteria are found in Section 2.4 of the Pre-Championship Manual (pgs. 21-22). The criteria is divided between primary and secondary criteria, the latter only being considered if the former does not enable a distinction to be made between schools. The criteria underwent a significant change prior to the 2013 season when the in-region/out-of-region distinction was abandoned. Previously only games versus "in-region" opponents were consider as part of the primary criteria with secondary criteria considering out-of-region and non-Division III competition. Now, primary criteria considers all Division III opponents while results versus non-Division III opponents (NAIA, NCCAA, Division II, Division I) are considered secondary criteria.
Primary Criteria (not listed in priority order)
Secondary Criteria (not listed in priority order)
Regular season and conference postseason matches are considered. See the sections that follow for an explanation/clarification of the results versus ranked teams and strength of schedule.
Results versus Ranked Teams
Prior to 2013, a team's results versus ranked teams (one of the primary criteria) was based upon the official clarification in the Manual that "once a team is ranked . . ., it is always considered ranked." That was changed starting in 2013 with ranked teams being defined as those teams ranked "at the time of selection" (Pre-Championship Manual, pg. 22), in other words, only the teams ranked the previous week.
Obviously, for the first weekly regional rankings of the season, there is no previous ranking and thus there are no results versus ranked teams. Consequently, the regional data sheets (see section further down) for the first weekly rankings do not include teams' records verus ranked opponents, but starting with the second weekly rankings this criteria is in play and is among the criteria listed in the regional data sheets.
"Results versus ranked teams" criteria spelled out
For the . . . first weekly rankings:
second weekly rankings:
third weekly ranking:
N/A (no previous rankings)
results versus teams ranked in the first weekly rankings
results versus teams ranked in the second weekly rankings
results versus teams ranked in the third weekly rankings
Strength of Schedule
The Strength of Schedule (SOS) used by the Division III soccer committees is based on Opponents' Average Winning Percentage (OWP) and Opponents' Opponents' Average Winning Percentage (OOWP) with home and away multipliers being applied for men’s soccer (since 2011) and women's soccer (starting this year). A multiplier of 0.85 is applied for home games and 1.25 for away games. Neutral site games are unfactored. An explanation with an example of these calculations is found in Appendix D (pgs. 44-45) of the Pre-Championship Manual.
Opponents' Winning Percentage (OWP):
The winning percentage of opponents' cumulative
Opponents' Opponents' Winning Percentage (OOWP):
The winning percentage of the cumulative win-loss-tie
Strength of Schedule (SOS):
Composed of OWP and OOWP weighted as follows:
Note: This is a change from previous seasons when OWP was the average of each opponent's winning percentage and OOWP was the average of the OWP's of all opponents. It is not clear how the 0.85 home and 1.25 away multipliers are applied now that opponents' individual winning percentages are no longer part of the calculation.
Note: There is a 40% difference between the home and away multipliers, meaning an away game is worth nearly 50% more than a home game (1.25/0.85 = 1.47). Therefore, travelling to a team with a .550 winning percentage is worth more to a team's SOS than playing a home game against a team with a .800 winning percentage.
Regional Data Sheets
Along with the rankings, data sheets for each region are made available. These data sheets, which include all teams in each region, provide some (but not all) of the data that was considered by the ranking committee. The following data is listed: record and winning percentage against Division III opponents, results versus ranked Division III opponents, Division III SOS (all primary criteria), and non-Division III winning percentage (secondary criteria). These sheets allow for a look at the numbers the committees had in front of them and therefore insight into why some teams are ranked and others not. The NCAA provides links to this data below the rankings. Direct links to the latest released data sheets are given below:
Men's Data Sheets
Women's Data Sheets
The data sheets can also be accessed by clicking the links on our regional rankings pages.
Definition of In-Region Competition
Starting with the 2013 season, the in-region/out-of-region distinction no longer matters for ranking and at-large selection criteria. However, the NCAA has not removed all encouragement to minimize travel and missed class time as teams are still required to play a minimum of 70 percent of their games against in-region Division III opponents to simply be eligible for at-large tournament selection. So the distinction could still be important for teams that like to fill their non-conference schedule with a good number of opponents from outside their region. But given how broadly in-region competition is defined on page 21 of the Pre-Championship Manual to include much more than just other teams from your defined region (e.g. New England, East, Mid-Atlantic, etc.), this requirement isn't difficult to meet.
An opponent is considered in-region if any one of the following criteria is met:
Region 1- Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Vermont
Region 2 - New York, Pennsylvania
Region 3- Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, North Carolina, Ohio, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia
Region 4- Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming
Published Final Rankings
As part of the at-large tournament selection process, the committees do final rankings that include the results from the final week prior to the tournament, usually the completion of conference tournaments. After five years in which they were not released, these final rankings will once again be published following the announcement of the tournament fields, which will go a long way to answering many questions about why certain teams were at-large selections and others not.