UA bids to host
The University of Arkansas on Monday submitted bids to host NCAA baseball and softball regionals and super regionals. Softball regional sites will be selected the week of April 26 and baseball the week of May 10.
FAYETTEVILLE — The University of Arkansas on Monday submitted bids to host NCAA baseball and softball regionals and super regionals, said Kevin Trainor, the UA’s senior associate athletic director for public relations.
No definitive dates have been given, Trainor said, but the NCAA has indicated softball regional site selections will be made the week of April 26 and baseball regional site selections the week of May 10. Both sports still will be involved in regular-season play at the time of the announcements.
Sites for regionals and super regionals normally are announced after conference tournaments, but the NCAA changed that this year so host schools would have extra time to prepare for coronavirus safety protocols.
If a school is selected to host a regional and super regional, it will be required to do so whether its team advances to a super regional or makes the regional field.
The Razorbacks should be a lock to make the NCAA Tournament in baseball and softball.
The Arkansas baseball team (26-5, 9-3 SEC) is ranked No. 1 nationally, and the Arkansas softball team (33-5, 132) is No. 8.
The deadline for schools to submit bids to host regionals and super regionals coincided with an announcement Monday by the NCAA Board of Governors that it “firmly and unequivocally” supports the opportunity for transgender athletes to compete in college sports.
“We are committed to ensuring that NCAA championships are open for all who earn the right to compete in them,” the Board of Governors said in a statement. “When determining where championships are held, NCAA policy directs that only locations where hosts can commit to providing an environment that is safe, healthy and free of discrimination should be selected.
“We will continue to closely monitor these situations to determine whether NCAA championships can be conducted in ways that are welcoming and respectful of all participants.”
Arkansas is among four states — along with Idaho, Mississippi and Tennessee — to pass legislation banning transgender women and girls from participating in organized sports. Bills with the same ban have been introduced in the legislatures of 24 other states.
“It is disappointing to see the NCAA take this punitive approach,” Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Monday in a statement to KHBS/KHOG-TV Channel 40/29 in Fort Smith and Fayetteville, which was posted on the television sta- tion’s website. “Sports does not need to disenfranchise a state just because it passes a law that the NCAA finds objectionable.
“As time goes on, I expect the NCAA to relax its position because there are already multiple states that have adopted a similar law as we have in Arkansas. In addition, the NCAA has already taken the first step to protect the integrity of women’s sports by setting standards for transgender participation.”
In response to a request from the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for Razorbacks Athletic Director Hunter Yurachek to comment on possible concerns about how the state of Arkansas’ transgender ban could affect the UA’s bids to host future NCAA championship events, Trainor referred to a statement released last week by UA Chancellor Joe Steinmetz.
“As an educational institution, the University of Arkansas continually strives to make the world a better place through inquiry, discovery, learning,” Steinmetz said in the statement. “It should be evident that we stand firm against, and prohibit, all forms of discrimination and harassment, and as such, have concerns about recent legislation that has impacts on the LGBTQ community.
“These policies affect our campus community and can be hurtful to many. We believe that the world is better when we work together, care for one another, and intentionally seek to lift one another, so that all feel a sense of belonging.”