The NCAA has decided to shift the Division I baseball and softball tournaments' regional and super regional rounds to predetermined sites. This decision comes as an attempt to safeguard against COVID-19.
According to the Associated Press, the NCAA sports directors have sent a memo to Division I baseball and softball administrators inviting schools to bid to be one of the 16 regional hosts in each sport. The announcement on what schools have been selected is set to come the week of April 26 for softball. Baseball’s regional host sites will be announced the week of May 10.
In a typical year, the top 16 teams in the country are each given the chance to host a regional. Normally those 16 teams are not fully finalized until the day before the full 64-team field is announced, something that would not work this year.
The NCAA determined that additional time is needed to prepare sites for COVID-19 testing procedures, making it necessary to know which schools would be hosts further in advance.
This move likely would not affect Missouri baseball this season, as the team sits at 10-17 and is currently out of the NCAA Tournament picture. It might, however, have an impact on softball.
Missouri softball coach Larissa Anderson has said one of her goals for the team this season was to be able to host regionals. Normally that would mean just reaching the top 16, a territory the Tigers have been hovering near the edge of for much of the season.
Now, to be able to host, Missouri must convince the NCAA, a hurdle not previously anticipated. The school has yet to announce whether or not it will submit a bid.