The NCAA said Wednesday that its softball committee is “soliciting feedback” on the recent criticism and complaints about the Women’s College World Series — which marked just the latest women’s championship to face inequity issues.
Oklahoma beat Florida State last week to win the WCWS in Oklahoma City. In order for the Seminoles to get into that final series, however, they had a wild schedule.
Florida State and Oklahoma State had an elimination game earlier in the tournament that ran until 2:18 a.m. local time due to a tight schedule throughout the event. The Seminoles then had to turn around and play another elimination game the next day.
The WCWS doesn’t have any off-days throughout its event, which created the late nights. Players and coaches have also slammed issues they see with the USA Softball Hall of Fame Stadium itself in Oklahoma City, including the locker rooms available to them and the batting cages.
"The NCAA Division I Softball Committee, which includes active softball coaches and administrators from the membership, oversees the format and scheduling for the Women's College World Series," NCAA senior vice president of championships Joni Comstock said in a statement, via ESPN. "The committee is actively discussing and soliciting feedback on adjustments to the schedule in Oklahoma City and will continue overall review and advancements to the Women's College World Series to ensure an outstanding student-athlete championship experience."
The tournament is just the latest NCAA event facing equity issues in recent months. The NCAA women’s basketball tournament came under fire in March for the unequal weight room access it gave compared to the men’s tournament, among other things. Coaches hit the NCAA about a month later over the women’s volleyball tournament, too, after it initially didn’t provide locker rooms in the early rounds.
Oklahoma coach slams WCWS despite title: ‘It’s shameful’
Even though they won the championship, Oklahoma coach Patty Gasso hasn’t hid her criticism of the event one bit.
Gasso called out the NCAA this week on ESPN, and demanded better facilities, scheduling and more.
"As much as people enjoy watching us and there's a lot of revenue and a lot of eyes on this championship, we're still not being treated or have the same opportunities, amenities that others do and it's sad for me," Gasso said, via ESPN. "I'm not one that speaks up, but I'm being brave and trying to stand up more for the sport to say these players and these coaches and these teams deserve more.
"We deserve a better bracket, better timing, we deserve instant replay, we deserve locker rooms, we deserve showers, we deserve batting cages, we have to go find our own cages otherwise our teams are going to stand out in the hot sun taking batting practice in one cage on an open field. That's unheard of. So there's a lot of things we have to do on our own to make it happen, to make the experience better for our athletes, versus it handed to us. It's shameful, it really is and I'm committed to help this change."
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