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Two years after plans were put in place to start a conference baseball tournament, the Pac-12's softball leadership has followed suit.

D1Softball was the first to report that the conference was on the cusp of finalizing an annual softball tournament, and the Pac-12 came out with an official statement confirming the info later Thursday afternoon. The Pac-12 Softball Championship will start in 2023, and will be hosted on a rotating basis by the nine member campuses.

“The Pac-12 could not be more excited to add a softball championship to its lineup of postseason events,” Pac-12 Commissioner George Kliavkoff said in a statement put out by the conference. “This new championship will offer student-athletes an amazing experience against top-notch competition, elevate the league’s softball brand in advance of the NCAA Tournament, and provide fans the opportunity to celebrate the incredible success of Pac-12 softball with a marquee event on our campuses.”

The Pac-12 released details for its new baseball tournament on Aug. 25, and the inaugural rendition of that competition is set for the upcoming 2022 season. Reports of that tournament coming to be started way back in 2020, though, and its start was pushed a year to to COVID-19 delays.

While the baseball tournament will be hosted by a neutral site in Scottsdale, Arizona, there is no designated site for the first softball tournament at the moment. The statement from the Pac-12 said there will be additional details released at a later date, and location and exact dates are ultimately set to be disclosed in later releases.

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The format of the softball championship weekend has been finalized, however, and it will start off with a play-in game between the eighth and ninth-place finishers in the regular season conference standings. From there, the remaining eight teams will play in a single-elimination bracket that boasts the quarterfinals, semifinals and finals on consecutive days.

The winner of the tournament will be crowned Pac-12 champion and earn the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA tournament, rather than letting the regular season results decide, as had been the case in the past. The ACC, SEC, Big 10, Big 12, Sun Belt and others all already hold conference tournaments each spring, and the Pac-12 is just the latest to adapt to the format.

“The creation of the Pac-12 Softball Championship is significant in that it will boost the exposure of Pac-12 softball at a critical point in the season,” UCLA coach Kelly Inouye-Perez said in the Pac-12's statement. “This flagship event on our campuses will not only deliver a championship experience for student-athletes, but will also provide an exciting atmosphere in which fans can enjoy premier competition as Pac-12 programs vie for a conference title.”

All nine Pac-12 programs have made appearances in the Women's College World Series, and roughly two-thirds of the NCAA title winners came from the Conference of Champions. The Pac-12 accounted for 24 out of the first 30 national champions once the NCAA started governing collegiate softball.

In the previous nine tournaments, though, the Pac-12 has just one winner and one runner-up – UCLA in 2019 and Washington in 2018, respectively.

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