NCAA Looks At Changing College Baseball Tournament Format

December 15, 2010
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There’s a chance the NCAA College Baseball Tournament could have a different look in the future. At its recent meeting, the NCAA Division One Baseball Committee discussed two possible new formats.

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The current format starts with 16 four-team regionals conducted in double-elimination format. The winners then advance to eight super regionals with the winners advancing to Omaha.

The first alternate format would included 32 first-round regional sites that would pit two teams in a best two-out-of-three series. Winners of those series would advance to eight four-team super regionals, which would be conducted in a double-elimination format. This format essentially flip-flops the formats of the current regionals and super regionals.

The other alternate format would be for the entire tournament prior to the College World Series to be conducted in best two-out-of-three series. That option would require an additional weekend to be added to the tournament. It would start with 32 first-round best of three series, followed by 16 best of three series, followed by eight more best of three series, with the winners advancing to the CWS.

The second alternate format would allow 32 teams to host first-round regionals, which would potentially allow more northern teams to host postseason play. However, the NCAA notes the format would also the need for hiring more umpires and institutional staff. It would also require more travel.

DI Baseball Committee Chairman Tim Weiser

“Some committee members feel that our regular season is being played in best two-out-of-three or three-out-of-four formats,” committee chair Tim Weiser told NCAA.org. “If the regular season is being driven in that fashion, some believe that postseason play should be in a two-out-of-three format.”

That argument has a lot of merit, considering virtually every conference plays three-game series over the course of the year. The Patriot League also conducts its conference tournament in best two-of-three fashion. Here’s what we said about it in our 2010 Patriot League Preview:

The Patriot League has probably the most unique postseason tournament format in college baseball (it’s also probably the most fair).  The Patriot League Baseball Championship is conducted as a field-of-four tournament over two weekends.  The two higher seeds host first round best-of-three series pitting the No. 4 seed at the No. 1 seed and the No. 3 seed at the No. 2 seed. The championship best-of-three series will be played at the site of the highest seed remaining. The Patriot League champion earns the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

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