Matt Jones is the online sports director for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A double graduate of the University of Arkansas, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, and voter for the Heisman Trophy.
Razorbacks among 20 in running to host softball regional
Arkansas softball coach Courtney Deifel is shown during a game against North Dakota State on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021, in Fayetteville. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/David Beach)
FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas’ Bogle Park is one of 20 host sites the NCAA is considering for its softball tournament, the organization announced Friday.
Sixteen host sites will be announced during the NCAA Tournament selection show May 16. Eight of those regional sites will also be chosen as super regional host sites.
Arkansas has hosted a regional once, in 2018 when the Razorbacks defeated DePaul and Wichita State to advance to a super regional for the first time. Arkansas is in strong position to host this season with a 38-7 record and No. 7 national ranking entering its final regular-season series at LSU.
The Razorbacks have a 1 1/2-game lead in the SEC and can clinch at least a share of their first conference championship this weekend.
Arkansas is one of eight SEC schools being considered as a regional host, along with Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Missouri and Tennessee.
According to the Associated Press, the states of Arkansas, Alabama and Tennessee have passed laws this year that ban transgender girls from competing on girls’ sports teams in public schools. The NCAA released a statement April 12 that said the organization was monitoring proposed legislation in statehouses nationwide, but stopped short of saying states with such laws would be prohibited from hosting NCAA championship events, including softball and baseball regionals.
“I think our baseball and softball programs have both earned the right to host regionals, and hopefully super regionals if we advance that far. We put a bid in for both,” Arkansas athletics director Hunter Yurachek said during an interview on ESPN Arkansas on April 20. “I don’t foresee the statement that the NCAA made last week about the transgender laws in our state will impact our ability to host baseball and/or softball championships.
“I think it was a statement by the NCAA, but there was no action taken last week. It was just kind of put out there where they stood, what their thoughts were as an organization and as our governing body, and that they will continue to monitor the situation from state to state.”
Other schools being considered as regional hosts are Arizona, Arizona State, Clemson, Florida State, Michigan, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Oregon, Texas, UCLA, Virginia Tech and Washington.
The NCAA will limit each host site to 50% capacity during regionals and super regionals.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report
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