This official info. (included below) is provided courtesy of CollegeSoccer360.com and was supplied directly from the NCAA.
A couple clarifications:
• The mileage maximum for teams traveling by bus is 400 miles (one way); teams traveling longer distances are allocated appropriate air-travel expenses.
• The selection committee seeds the top-16 teams and these are the only teams guaranteed to be host teams in the first round. The other 16 first-round host teams are determined based on geographical considerations, in order to limit the number of plane flights.
Official NCAA Selection Criteria for 2012 Division I Women's Soccer Championship
Championship Format – The Division I Women’s Soccer Championship provides for a 64-team, single-elimination tournament. Thirty conferences will receive automatic qualification for the 2012 championship. The remaining teams will be selected on an at-large basis.
The top 16 teams identified by the committee will be seeded in the bracket. The seeded teams will compete at separate first-round sites. The committee has been given approval by the NCAA Championships/Sports Management Cabinet to place the top 16 seeds in pods of four. There will be four number ones, four number twos, four number threes and four number fours. The remaining 48 teams will be paired geographically. First- and second-round conference matchups will be avoided.
Automatic Qualification – Conferences granted automatic qualification (30) for the 2012 championship are:
America East Conference (Stony Brook)
Atlantic Coast Conference (Virginia)
Atlantic Sun Conference (Florida Gulf Coast)
Atlantic 10 Conference (La Salle)
Big East Conference (Marquette)
Big Sky Conference (Idaho State)
Big South Conference (Radford)
Big Ten Conference (Ohio State)
Big 12 Conference (Baylor
Big West Conference (Cal State Northridge)
Colonial Athletic Association (Hofstra)
Conference USA (Central Florida)
Horizon League (Milwaukee)
The Ivy League (Princeton
Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (Loyola MD)
Mid-American Conference (Miami OH)
Missouri Valley Conference (Illinois State)
Mountain West Conference (San Diego State)
Northeast Conference (LIU Brooklyn)
Ohio Valley Conference (Tennessee Martin)
Pac-12 Conference (Stanford)
Southeastern Conference (Florida)
Southern Conference (Georgia Southern)
Southland Conference (Stephen F. Austin)
Southwestern Athletic Conference (Mississippi Valley State)
Sun Belt Conference (North Texas)
Patriot League (Colgate)
The Summit League (Oakland)
West Coast Conference (BYU)
Western Athletic Conference (Utah State)
At-Large Selection – To be considered during the at-large selection process, a team must have an overall won-lost record of .500 or better. Thirty-four teams will be selected at large.
Selection Criteria – The following criteria shall be employed by a governing sports committee in selecting participants for NCAA championships
competition [Bylaw 31.3.3; Criteria for Selection of Participants]:
● Won-lost record;
● Strength of schedule; and
● Eligibility and availability of student-athletes for NCAA championships.
In addition to Bylaw 31.3.3, the Women’s Soccer Committee has received approval from the NCAA Division I Championships/Sports Management Cabinet to consider the following criteria in the selection of at-large teams for the soccer championship (not necessarily in priority order):
● Adjusted Rating Percentage Index (RPI);
● Results versus common opponents; and
● Head-to-head competition.
If the evaluation of the primary criteria does not result in a decision, the secondary criteria will be reviewed. All the criteria listed will be evaluated.
● Results versus teams already selected to participate in the field (including automatic qualifiers with RPI of 1-75)
● Late season performance — defined as the last eight games including conference tournaments (strength and results).
Recommendations are provided by regional advisory committees for consideration by the Women’s Soccer Committee. Coaches polls and/or any other outside polls or rankings are not used as a criterion by the Women’s Soccer Committee for selection purposes.
RPI – The committee uses the RPI (Rating Percentage Index), a computer program that calculates the institutions’ Division I winning percentage (25 percent), opponents’ success (50 percent), opponents’ strength of schedule (25 percent) plus a bonus/penalty system. When evaluating the RPI the committee may consider comparing data of individual teams, including, but not limited to, overall record, Division I record, overall RPI rank, non-conference record and RPI rank, conference regular-season record and conference tournament results. The RPI shall be used as a selection tool. The committee can consider comparing data of individual teams, including, but not limited to, overall record, Division I record, overall RPI rank, non-conference record and RPI rank, conference regular-season record and conference tournament results. The Bonus /Penalty structure for the RPI includes a bonus for non-conference wins or ties against the top 80 teams in the RPI and a penalty for a non-conference loss against the bottom 80 teams in the RPI.