NAIA Softball Championship Slides Into New Base: Columbus, Georgia
24 Oct, 2019
The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) has announced that the NAIA Softball Championship scheduled for May of 2020 in Springfield, Mo., will be relocated to Columbus, Ga., due to a scheduling conflict with Killian Field.
A previous contract was signed with the Springfield Sports Commission for the 2020 NAIA Softball World Series to be played in Springfield. Earlier this year, however, the NAIA was informed that the Springfield Park Board had double-booked the facility with the Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA) Spring Softball Championship.
The championship will return to a familiar host site in Columbus, which has hosted the event in previous years.
“We are thrilled to return to Columbus for the 2020 NAIA Softball World Series,” said Mike Higgins, Director of NAIA Championships. “Columbus is a tremendous host for our student-athletes and the improvements to the stadium are impressive. Our student-athletes will be thrilled to take the field there to compete for a national title.”
The agreement is for 2020 only, however, the NAIA has opened a bid for 2021-22 with submissions due on November 1, 2019. A decision will be made by January of 2020 on the winner of this bid. Columbus has notified of its intent to bid. Further, Reinhardt University (Ga.) has agreed to assist Columbus as host. As part of this agreement, Reinhardt will have the option to host an opening round on its campus should it finish the regular season with a .600 winning percentage or better.
The 2020 championship will be hosted at the South Commons Softball Complex, which was the site of the 1996 Olympic Women’s Softball Tournament, and most recently, the USA Softball International Cup in July of 2019. The stadium has recently undergone a $4.8 million renovation that included upgrades to architectural improvements, a new drainage and irrigation system, upgrades in lighting and sound systems, new seating, and much more. Continued upgrades will bring the total renovations cost to nearly $5.6 million.
“The Sports Council of Columbus, Georgia is elated to host the NAIA National Softball Championship,” said Merri Sherman, Columbus, Ga. Sports Council Executive Director. “Our beloved South Commons Softball Complex has held many championship games, and we look forward to welcoming NAIA teams to Columbus once again! The stadium will be in prime condition for this prestigious event following a fresh update, and players and spectators will enjoy the many amazing restaurants and amenities our vibrant city has to offer. To everyone involved—players, coaches, support staff and spectators—I offer the sincere hospitality for which our city has become so well known.”
The annual event features 10 teams which compete in a double-elimination bracket to determine which will raise the red banner. Southern Oregon earned the title in 2019.
This will be the second time that Columbus has hosted the NAIA Softball National Championship. The city also hosted the event in both 2013 and 2014, along with the NAIA Swimming and Diving National Championships from 2016-2019.
For more information on becoming a host for an NAIA Championship, click HERE.