In Division II, seven-team regionals are simply not fair

Rick Cleveland
Rick Cleveland

The scary part is that somebody, somewhere, in the deep, dark recesses of the NCAA thought that a seven-team NCAA Baseball Regional was a good idea.

That it was fair, equitable.

Whoever thought that was wrong.

Delta State last week won the Gulf South Conference baseball championship, thus qualifying for the NCAA Division II championship tournament.

Sunday, the Statesmen learned they will head this week to Tampa University as the fourth seed in the South Regional.

So the Statesmen will play 5-seed Lynn University Thursday morning in a first-round game.

But here’s the rub: Win that one and the Statesmen would have to play No. 1 seeded Tampa (41-8) on Friday. And Tampa has a first-round bye.

That means that Delta State or Lynn, whichever wins in the first round, will be throwing their No. 2 pitcher against Tampa’s ace, which gives Tampa, already playing on its home field, a huge advantage.

The seven-team regional approach came when the NCAA expanded the tournament from 48 to 56 teams. They should have stayed at 48 or expanded to 64 and all eight-team regionals.

As it is, the host team in a seven-team regional has a ridiculously huge advantage. Of course, that’s just my opinion. But it’s also common sense.

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