The 2022 Women’s College World Series will have a different schedule than the previous iterations.
After the longest WCWS in history, both in terms of total games played as well as days covered, the NCAA has announced in a release on Wednesday that the event will be expanding out from seven days to nine moving forward.
"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," Division I Competition Oversight Committee chair Sandy Atkins said in a release. "The engagement from the National Fastpitch Coaches Association, particularly the active coaches who have participated in the Women's College World Series, helped identify the day off before the championship series and minimizing doubleheaders as key recommendations to improve the championship.
"That focused feedback helped us narrow in on this alternative format that targets those priorities, while still preserving the format components that allow for a competitive series and quality experience for teams and fans."
The change will eliminate the doubleheader for teams that lose on the opening day of the event and also provide an extra day of rest for the two teams that reach the final series.
The change has already received the approval of the hosts of the event in Oklahoma City and thus will go into effect immediately next season.
"We appreciate our hosts in Oklahoma City, in particular USA Softball and the University of Oklahoma, along with our broadcast partners at ESPN, for their support of this new format," Atkins said. "Our committee believes this will be a positive development in the continued growth and enhancement of the Women's College World Series going forward."
This is the second major change to the event of the offseason after instant replay was officially added moving forward earlier in the summer.
Both of these are changes that have been called for by many, but it is worth noting that Oklahoma head coach Patty Gasso, undeniably one of the top voices of the sport, was extremely critical of the NCAA for not having both replay and a schedule with more breathing room at the event in June.
Now, both of those things have been addressed in the same offseason.
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