By Chad Waller, Director of Communications and Sports Information
Photo credit to Tom Baylark
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) has released the list of 10 host sites for the inaugural NAIA Softball National Championship Opening Round, the national office announced Tuesday. The event will be played May 13 – 15 and features 10 four-team double elimination tournaments. The 40 qualifiers and pairings for the National Championship Opening Round will be announced May 7.
In the 33-year history of the softball national championship, the 2013 Opening Round format is a first for the Association. From 2005-12, the championship format included pool play with the champions advancing to double-elimination action.
The hosts include: Belhaven University (Miss.), Concordia University (Calif.), Concordia University (Ore.), Lee University (Tenn.), Lindsey Wilson College (Ky.), Lubbock Christian University (Texas), Oklahoma City University, Park University (Mo.), Rogers State University (Okla.), and University of South Carolina Beaufort.
The Opening Round site selection process takes into account: geography, facilities, student-athlete experience and host qualification. In the event that a selected bid is tied directly to an institution, that school is guaranteed at least an at-large host berth in the Opening Round. The application deadline for bids was April 1.
The champions of each of the 10 Opening Round tournaments advance to the Softball National Championship final site in Columbus, Ga., from May 24 – 30. These programs will participate in a double-elimination national championship format on one championship field – which was home to the 1996 Summer Olympic Games.
For the complete opening round schedule, click here.
For more national championship information, click here.
2013 NAIA Softball National Championship Opening Round Host Sites
|Belhaven University||Clinton Sportsplex||Jackson, Miss.||Belhaven Bracket|
|Concordia University||Eagles Field||Irvine, Calif.||Concordia (Calif.) Bracket|
|Concordia University||Delta Park||Portland, Ore.||Concordia (Ore.) Bracket|
|Lee University||Butler Field||Cleveland, Tenn.||Lee Bracket|
|Lindsey Wilson College||Lindsey Wilson Sports Park||Columbia, Ky.||Lindsey Wilson Bracket|
|Lubbock Christian University||PlainsCapital Park||Lubbock, Texas||Lubbock Christian Bracket|
|Oklahoma City University||Ann Lacy Stadium||Oklahoma City, Okla.||Oklahoma City Bracket|
|Park University||Heritage Park||St. Joseph, Mo.||Park Bracket|
|Rogers State University||Diamond Sports Complex||Claremore, Okla.||Rogers State Bracket|
|University of South Carolina Beaufort||Gray Athletic Complex||Bluffton, S.C.||South Carolina Beaufort Bracket|
NAIA Softball National Championship Facts
· This championship format occurs for the first time in the history of the sport, which spans back to 1981. From 2005-12, the championship format included pool play with the champions advancing to double-elimination action.
· These hosts will be serving as the host venue for both Softball and Baseball National Championship Opening Rounds: Lee University (Tenn.); Oklahoma City University and Rogers State University (Okla.).
· The 10 Opening Round champions will meet up at the NAIA Softball National Championship final site in Columbus, Ga., for a seven day, double-elimination event starting on May 24. There are four games during the first three days (Sunday is off day); three games on May 28; two games on May 29; championship final on May 30 (if necessary game to follow).
· The 10-team final site bracket will be officially announced May 15 (late in the day).
· The 40-team field will be comprised of 31 automatic qualifiers and nine at-large berths. The 17 conferences and the Association of Independent Institutions (A.I.I.) will receive one berth per six teams and two berths per ten teams. In addition, three Unaffiliated groups will receive one berth each.
· Currently, 197 NAIA schools sponsor a varsity softball program among a membership of nearly 300 colleges, universities and conferences.