The sport of Softball is extensively supported through competitions and appearances in a variety of sporting events. The National College Athletic Association (NCAA) also represents Softball, and how the NCAA defines it will be discussed in more depth below.
So What is Softball?
Softball is a sport similar to baseball that is played using an 11 to 16-inch (28 to 40 cm) circumference ball on a 60-foot-long field, with a pitcher’s mound that ranges from 35 to 43 feet (the professional is 43) and a home run fence that goes from 220 to 300 feet away from home plate, depending on the type of Softball being played. Club, collegiate, and professional Softball all have competitive divisions.
Slow-pitch softball and fast-pitch Softball are two distinct types of Softball. Men’s and women’s fast-pitch softball are Summer Olympic sports and are played professionally by women, whereas slow-pitch softball is the most popular variety.
Softball’s sixteen-inch version is less popular, but it is nonetheless a direct descendent of the original game invented by George Hancock.
There are several differences between the regulations of Softball and those of baseball. Because the field is smaller and the bases and fielders are closer to home plate, the game advances quicker than regular baseball.
There is no infield in fast-pitch Softball, and the mounds are flat, but in baseball, the mounds have a slight rise. Baseballs are thrown overhand, while softballs are tossed in a windmill fashion. As the ball comes closer to the plate, its arc is altered.
Now that you know Softball, you should also know about the NCAA.
What Is The NCAA?
About 1,100 colleges and universities in the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico are members of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).
Athletic programs at American and Canadian colleges and universities are overseen by a centralized agency that enables more than 500,000 student-athletes to participate in collegiate sports each year. Indianapolis, Indiana, is home to the main office of the organization.
Division I, Division II, and Division III were established by the NCAA membership at a special convention in August 1973. Division I and Division II sectors, are allowed under NCAA regulations to provide scholarships to students participating in athletics.
In 1978, Division I football was split into two divisions: I-A and I-AA, and FBS and FCS were renamed Divisions I-A and I-AA in 2006, respectively, after the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS). Division I am dominated by more prominent colleges, while Divisions II and III are home to the smaller schools. Athletic scholarships are not permitted at Division III colleges.
As of this year, the NCAA awards a total of 90 national championships each year — 46 female, 41 male, and three co-ed titles in the sports of fencing, riflery, and skiing.
Basketball, baseball, beach volleyball (women), Softball, and football (men) are among the NCAA-sanctioned sports, as are golf, fencing (coeducational), lacrosse, soccer, gymnastics, and many more. Beach volleyball, which had its debut championship in the 2015–16 school year, is the newest sport to get formal sanctioning.
Now that you know about NCAA and Softball, let us see the representation of Softball in the NCAA.
Softball Tournament: NCAA
Sixty-four teams in the Softball NCAA Division I Tournament, contested annually in May/June, culminates in the Women’s College World Series (WCWS) in Oklahoma City.
It’s an unusual event since it has four stages of play, and a defeat doesn’t automatically remove a team from contention. A team may lose a total of four games and still be proclaimed winners during the whole tournament.
The competition has 64 teams. Sixteen teams will be awarded “national seeds” and put at one of the designated regional locations, frequently the home ground of each national seed. The Division I Softball Committee selects the remaining 32 teams, with 32 automatically participating in the tournament.
A double-elimination bracket has 16 venues and four teams in the tournament’s first round, known as “regionals.” The regional winners go to the “super regionals,” the second stage of the competition.
In the super regionals, the region with the overall #1 seed will face the regional with the overall #16 seed, the area with the overall #2 seed will meet the regional with the overall #15 seed, and so on. Women’s College World Series: The higher seeded team typically hosts the best-of-three series, and the victor advances.
The Women’s College World Series will take place in Oklahoma City at the USA Softball Hall of Fame Stadium, where the top eight teams in the country will square off. There are two parts to the WCWS.
A double-elimination bracket is used in the first round, similar to the regional competition. The final series, which is a best-of-three affair, pits the champions of each frame against one another. In the end, the WCWS winner is declared the country’s champion.
This concludes all you must know and understand about Softball in the NCAA and the role that this sport plays in the organization. I sincerely hope you have acquired an adequate understanding of this sport and its performance in association with the NCAA.