The NCAA Division I Men's Soccer Championship, sometimes known as the College Cup, is an American intercollegiate college soccer tournament conducted by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), and determines the Division I men's national champion. The tournament has been formally held since 1959, when it was an eight-team tournament. Since then, the tournament has expanded to 48 teams, in which every Division I conference tournament champion is allocated a berth. Among the most successful programs, Saint Louis won 10 titles during dynasty years between 1959 and 1973. Indiana has won 8 titles beginning in 1982, whereas Virginia has won 7 titles beginning in 1989.
While the tournament is frequently referenced as the College Cup, the NCAA applies the title only to the semifinal and championship rounds of the tournament proper. Since the tournament began, the semifinal and final fixtures have been held a neutral site predetermined by the NCAA prior to the start of the regular season.
Each conference determines the format for their conference championship, which determines the school who receives the automatic bid. Many use conference tournaments, although three conferences award the championship and automatic bid to the regular season champion. The remaining 24 teams have received at-large bids. The at-large teams are selected by a committee consisting of representatives from each of the eight regions the NCAA has divided the country into. The committee uses a number of criteria, the most influential supposedly being the Ratings Percentage Index, a mathematical formula designed to objectively compare the results and strength of schedule of all Division I teams.
The top 16 teams are seeded into the bracket and receive first round byes. The other 32 are grouped by geographical proximity. The first four rounds are played on campus sites, with matches being hosted by the higher seed. The College Cup, comprising the semifinal and final matches, is played at a predetermined site.