The champion from each eligible division automatically qualifies for the National Collegiate Club Championship.
In men’s competition, there is also a Division III National Championship limited to NCAA Division III institutions. Eligible divisions qualify their champion to attend this event.
Teams within the Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) are divided into the Northeast Water Polo Conference (NWPC) and the Mid Atlantic Water Polo Conference (MAWPC). The NWPC teams play double round robin followed by a championship, the winner of which automatically qualifies for the NCAA Men’s Water Polo Championship. The MAWPC teams are subdivided into the western and eastern regions for their regular season competition, each ending with their own championship. However, since only one team from the MAWPC can advance to the NCAA Men’s Championship, the top two teams from the western region based on their championship finish join the teams in the east at their championship to determine an ultimate conference winner that will advance to the NCAA Championship.
The CWPA Governance Council is charged with seeding the final Mid Atlantic Championship using the same criteria established by the NCAA:
- Head-to-head competition.
- Results vs. common opponents.
- Late-season performance defined as last 10 games, including conference championship tournaments (strength and results).
- Evaluation of Rating Percentage Index.
All women’s CWPA teams are divided based on their NCAA affiliation, with both Division I and Division III teams competing for their own respective championships. The winner of the Division I championship automatically qualifies for the NCAA Women’s Water Polo Championship. The top two teams from the Division III championship qualify to participate in the USA Water Polo Division III National Championship, not sponsored by the NCAA.
Coaches’ polls and/or any other outside polls or rankings are not used as a criterion for selection purposes in either men’s and/or women’s competion.