OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The NCAA’s Division I Competition Oversight Committee has approved expanding the Women’s College World Series from seven days to nine, starting with the 2022 event.
The change, announced Wednesday, will eliminate the doubleheader for teams that need to stay alive after losing on the opening day of the event. There also will be a new day of rest for the two teams that advance to the finals.
The previous format limited schedule flexibility. In June, Florida State and Oklahoma State played a game that started at nearly midnight because of a rain delay and didn’t end until after 2 a.m. on Sunday.
Oklahoma coach Patty Gasso and Florida State coach Lonni Alameda, whose teams played for the national championship last season, were among the most outspoken about the need for change, saying the men’s College World Series is more accommodating because it is longer with more off days built in.
“It’s very uncomfortable when we are talking to our players about standing up for what is right, yet, what is happening around us is not right,” Gasso said during last season’s event. “And the players will do whatever you put in front of them. They’re not going to complain. They’re going to go to bed at three, wake up at seven, because it’s the World Series. But that’s not the memory they need to have.”
Committee chair Sandy Atkins said engagement from the National Fastpitch Coaches Association helped identify the most pressing needs.
“What we’ve accomplished with this format change for the Women’s College World Series is further prioritization of student-athlete rest, recovery and preparation during the event and more flexibility to manage weather delays in Oklahoma City,” Atkins said.