Cortland State has earned the New Jersey Athletic Conference’s automatic qualification to the NCAA Division III playoffs via tiebreaker.
The New Jersey Athletic Conference Board of Athletic Administrators implemented the following tiebreakers in the sport of football prior to the 2010 season:
A) If two teams finish the season tied for first place with identical conference records, co-champions will be declared and the tiebreaker procedure will only be used to determine the conference’s automatic qualification to the NCAA Tournament.
B) In case of a tie for first place, the tiebreaker will be determined as follows:
i. Two teams tied: The winner in head-to-head competition
ii. Three teams
1. Winner in head-to-head competition – team with best record against other two combined is declared champion
2. Results versus next highest ranked conference team (4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th) until tie is broken
3. Opponents’ opponents’ winning percentage in all of Division III
4. Opponents’ opponents’ winning percentage in-region
5. Rose Bowl Rule
6. Coin Toss
Cortland, Rowan and Montclair State all finished the regular season with identical 8-1 conference records and were declared tri-champions for the 2010 season.
In terms of head-to-head results, Cortland defeated Montclair State (10-9 on Oct. 30); Montclair State defeated Rowan (26-7 on Sept. 18); and Rowan defeated Cortland (20-17 on Oct. 16).
All three teams defeated all of the other teams in the conference ranked below the three-way first-place tie in the final league standings.
The NJAC’s automatic qualification was determined via the tiebreaker of opponents’ opponents’ winning percentage in all of Division III. Opponents’ opponents’ winning percentage in all of Division III is data that is calculated by the NCAA Division III Football Committee and considered secondary criteria when teams are evaluated for tournament consideration.
The NCAA informed the conference office that Cortland finished its regular season with an opponents’ opponents’ winning percentage in all of Division III of .514. Montclair State finished its regular season with an opponents’ opponents’ winning percentage of .504. Rowan finished its regular season with an opponents’ opponents’ winning percentage of .502.
While Cortland is assured of a berth in the tournament via the conference’s automatic qualification, both Montclair State and Rowan will be considered for at-large berths to the tournament. The NCAA is not bound by conference tiebreakers when considering at-large teams.