Pac-12 Softball Championship to Begin in 2023
SAN FRANCISCO - The Pac-12 announced today the creation of a Conference championship event for softball to begin in 2023. Hosted on Pac-12 campuses, the Pac-12 Softball Championship will rotate annually among the league's nine softball-playing institutions, providing increased exposure and community engagement for the sport across the Pac-12 footprint.
"The Pac-12 could not be more excited to add a softball championship to its lineup of postseason events," Pac-12 Commissioner George Kliavkoff said. "This new championship will offer student-athletes an amazing experience against top-notch competition, elevate the league's softball brand in advance of the NCAA Tournament, and provide fans the opportunity to celebrate the incredible success of Pac-12 softball with a marquee event on our campuses."
Teams will play once per day, with the four-day event beginning with a play-in game between the eighth and ninth-place teams in the regular-season standings. The play-in winner will advance to an eight-team, single-elimination bracket with the quarterfinals, semifinals and championship being contested on the following three days. The winner of the Pac-12 Softball Championship will receive the Conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
The nation's most successful softball conference, Pac-12 programs have combined to win 24 of the 39 NCAA softball championships all-time, 19 more than the next closest league, and all nine Pac-12 teams have made appearances in the Women's College World Series. Of the 13 different programs to have won an NCAA softball championship, five are from the Pac-12: UCLA (12), Arizona (8), Arizona State (2), California (1), Washington (1).
"The creation of the Pac-12 Softball Championship is significant in that it will boost the exposure of Pac-12 softball at a critical point in the season," UCLA head coach Kelly Inouye-Perez said. "This flagship event on our campuses will not only deliver a championship experience for student-athletes, but will also provide an exciting atmosphere in which fans can enjoy premier competition as Pac-12 programs vie for a conference title."
The Pac-12 boasted 20 Olympians on the rosters of five different countries at last summer's Tokyo Games, including eight of the 15 on Team USA.
Pac-12 programs will be featured on Pac-12 Networks 85 times during the upcoming 2022 season, which begins on Thursday, Feb. 10. Additional details about the 2023 Pac-12 Softball Championship will be announced at a later date.