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OU softball: Patty Gasso says NCAA needs to 'do something' about unfair structure of Women's College World Series

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Patty Gasso and Sooners

OU Head Coach Patty Gasso rallies the Sooners during the Women’s College World Series game against UCLA on June 5.

Oklahoma's 10-3 win over UCLA concluded play just before 11:30 p.m. on Saturday.

As the Sooners and Bruins left the field, the grounds crew at the USA Hall of Fame Stadium got to work. But the crew wasn't getting everything ready for the next day's slate of games — they were instead setting up for a game later that night.

Oklahoma State and Florida State started its Women's College World Series elimination game roughly 10 minutes before midnight in Oklahoma City. FSU's 4-2 win over OSU ended at exactly 2:18 a.m. on Sunday morning.

A two-hour rain delay was to blame for the late start and end times of both matchups. OU and UCLA were scheduled to face at 6 p.m., but thunderstorms in the area postponed the game's start to 8:17 p.m.

However, the delay isn't at blame for the turn around Oklahoma and Florida State were forced to make entering the WCWS semifinals on Sunday. OU met James Madison for a rematch at noon on June 6, just over 12 hours after the Sooners faced the Bruins. OU head coach Patty Gasso later voiced her frustrations about the turn around after OU's 6-3 win over JMU.

"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. "Do something. I don't know who needs to do something. But having these guys get home at three 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 to either team to sit around and wait that long."

Gasso also said she was shocked at Oklahoma State and FSU's start time. Florida State later began its matchup against Alabama at 3:17 p.m., 13 hours after its semifinal game. But, after 20 minutes of play, another rain delay postponed the game. FSU and Alabama resumed play at 6:13 p.m.

With the third game between Sooners and Dukes likely to be delayed as well, Gasso wants the NCAA to change the way it conducts the WCWS.

"You're starting to hear coaches talk about this," Gasso said. "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. And the players will do whatever you put in front of them. They're not going to complain. They're going to go to bed at three, wake up at seven, because it's the World Series. But that's not the memory they need to have.

"You know, does it make you tough? Yeah. Does it show like, wow, we're going to fight until the end? Yes. But ... you want to see a World Series where every team is rested and at their best. And we've been doing this for so long, it's tragic. It's just ridiculous, really. ... It's not fair for our athletes. It's just not."

Chandler Engelbrecht is a journalism senior and the Daily's assistant sports editor. He currently covers OU football and has previously covered OU men's basketball, volleyball and men's gymnastics.

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