The NCAA Division I Competition Oversight Committee on Wednesday approved expanding the Women's College World Series to a nine-day event, beginning with the 2022 championship.
The change to the format will eliminate the doubleheader for teams that lose on Day 1 of the event, and it will also add a day of rest for the two teams that advance to the finals.
Previously, the event was conducted over a seven-day period, which limited schedule flexibility. The Division I Softball Committee believes expanding the event two additional days will help enhance the championship for all those involved.
"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," said Sandy Atkins, committee chair and deputy director of athletics at Troy. "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."
Host leaders in Oklahoma City said they can accommodate the format change next spring.
"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."