While the country at large is faced with the decision of electing its next leader, the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference today elected to revert to an 18-game conference schedule for both men's and women's basketball, effective with the 2017-18 season.
MAAC commissioner Rich Ensor announced the changes late Tuesday afternoon, returning to 18 games after using a 20-game league slate since Monmouth and Quinnipiac joined the MAAC from the Northeast Conference in 2013. The move to 18 eliminates the double round-robin format wherein each team played its conference brethren twice, but at the same time, allows for stronger non-conference games that can boost the league RPI as a whole.
The MAAC schedule format will now include three different groups: Group A, comprised of the projected top four teams in the preseason; Group B, consisting of the next three teams, and Group C, which includes the remaining four. These groups will be determined on June 1 of each year by MAAC staff, and will be influenced by a combination of projected polls from both media and coaches, as well as input from each institution's athletic administration. Should no consensus be reached, Ensor will have the final decision as commissioner.
Each team will still have an equal number of home and away matchups, and the top seven ranked teams must schedule non-conference games within the top 250 RPI rankings. The bottom four teams will have no such restrictions in how they develop their non-league ledgers.
In addition, conference members who seek to bid on hosting the MAAC Tournament must also play at least one game for two years in the facility they hope to host the tournament in, in order for the MAAC to develop a proper gauge in the fitness of the site to serve as an effective tournament venue.