U.S. Soccer has released new rules for the 2013 U.S. Open Cup. Perhaps most interesting is an increase in prize money and going fully to random selection to determining the host club. (And once won, that right to host cannot be bought or sold.)
Here's the release:
The largest field of teams and a significant increase in prize money highlight the 100th edition of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, which kicks off May 7. The 2013 tournament features 68 teams, an increase from the 64 that competed last year, marking the largest field in the modern era (1995-present). This year also marks the second-consecutive year in which all U.S. based Division I, II and III teams will participate in the tournament proper: 16 from Major League Soccer, six from the North American Soccer League and 12 from USL PRO. The amount of prize money distributed will also see a substantial increase, with the overall champion earning a total of $250,000 (up from $100,000 in recent years). The tournament runner-up will receive $60,000 (up from $50,000) and the team that advances the furthest from each lower division will win $15,000 (up from $10,000). Another significant change for 2013 is the process for determining the site for the Open Cup tournament semifinals and final. In past years, the sites for the final three matches of the tournament had been determined through a sealed-bid process, but this year the hosts of those games will be determined by a coin flip. Home teams throughout the entire tournament will be determined by random selection. Beyond the Division I, II, and III teams, the remaining 34 spots in the tournament field will be filled by amateur teams from the Adult Council category. There will be 16 from the Premier Development League, eight from U.S. Adult Soccer Association regional qualifying, eight from the National Premier Soccer League, one from US Club Soccer and one from the United States Specialty Sports Association. Entry deadline for all amateur teams is March 15. The tournament will begin with the Play-In Round to be completed by May 7 and will culminate with the tournament final, which will take place on Oct. 1 or 2. 2013 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Facts: •Largest field of teams (68) in tournament proper in competition's modern era (1995-present), eclipsing previous record of 64 (2012) •Second consecutive year in modern era where all U.S.-based Division I, II and III professional clubs will participate in tournament proper •Home teams through entire tournament to be determined by random selection (change from sealed bid process for semifinals and final) •Largest field of professional teams (34) in tournament proper in competition's modern era, eclipsing previous record of 32 (2012) •Largest field of amateur teams (34) in tournament proper in competition's modern era, surpassing previous record of 32 (2012).