- Elizabeth Merrill is a senior writer for ESPN.com and ESPN The Magazine. She previously wrote for The Kansas City Star and The Omaha World-Herald.
After a marathon day of softball that didn’t end until after 2 a.m. local time Sunday, Oklahoma coach Patty Gasso questioned the Women’s College World Series scheduling, calling the decision to have Oklahoma State and Florida State start its elimination game at 11:50 p.m. “not right.”
“If we’re about the welfare of the student-athlete — that is what is being preached to all of us — then do something,” Gasso said Sunday. “I don’t know who needs to do something. But having these guys get home at 3 in the morning and then prepare for the next day — it completely throws off your rhythm of sleep, hydration, of eating.
“It wasn’t fair for either team to sit around and wait that long.”
Gasso spoke after her team beat James Madison 6-3 Sunday in a noon game that started just over 12 hours after the Sooners beat UCLA to stay alive in the WCWS. Just after her postgame Zoom call Sunday, lightning and rain halted play in Oklahoma City for the second straight day, meaning that Oklahoma would undoubtedly be playing again into the wee hours of the night.
After a long night of waiting around, Florida State beat Oklahoma State 4-2 Sunday morning at about 2:18. Following the game, Oklahoma State coach Kenny Gajewski said, “It is what it is.”
Gasso said the players won’t generally complain, but that going to bed at 3 a.m. “completely throws off” rhythms of sleep, hydration and eating.
“I just would like to see what other championship does the same thing,” she said. “And now you’re starting to hear coaches talk about this. It’s very uncomfortable when we are talking to our players about standing up for what is right. Yet what is happening around us is not right.”
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