The NCAA Division I Baseball Championship tournament is held each year from May through June and features 64 college baseball teams in the United States, culminating in the College World Series.
The tournament is unique in that it features four tiers of competition, each contested on a double-elimination basis. In fact, throughout the entire tournament, a team can lose a total of four games and still be crowned champions.
During team selection, eight teams are given national seeds. These teams automatically host a super regional if they advance past the regional round. As in other NCAA tournaments, conference champions (usually determined by a tournament) receive automatic bids, and the selection committee fills the remaining spots.
The first tier, called Regionals, consists of 16 locations that include four teams, seeded 1 through 4, competing in a double-elimination bracket. The 16 host sites are determined mostly by merit - most No. 1 seeds host - but are also contested by bids from schools guaranteeing the NCAA a certain amount of revenue from that regional. Host teams traditionally have a large advantage, although the home team for each game is determined by rule, so the host school sometimes plays as the visiting team. The winner of each regional moves on to the second tier, the Super Regionals.
Super Regionals are played at eight locations throughout the country and consist of the 16 surviving teams, matched up by predetermined regional pairings. National seeds cannot meet each other in the super regional and are guaranteed to host. If the national seed in the bracket is eliminated in the regional stage, the super regional will be bid upon by the two competing teams. The two teams play a best-of-three series to determine who moves on to the College World Series. Although one school hosts all three games, the teams split home-team status in the first two games, with the host school batting last in the opening game and first in game 2. If a third game is needed, a coin toss determines home-team status.
The final eight teams meet in Omaha, Nebraska in the College World Series. The CWS mimics the earlier rounds, consisting of two double-elimination brackets of four teams each. Thereafter, the winners of each bracket meet in a best-of-three final. The winner of this final series wins the College World Series and is crowned National Champion.
Famous quotes containing the words division and/or baseball:
“God and the Devil are an effort after specialization and the division of labor.”
—Samuel Butler (18351902)
“Baseball is the religion that worships the obvious and gives thanks that things are exactly as they seem. Instead of celebrating mysteries, baseball rejoices in the absence of mysteries and trusts that, if we watch what is laid before our eyes, down to the last detail, we will cultivate the gift of seeing things as they really are.”
—Thomas Boswell, U.S. sports journalist. The Church of Baseball, Baseball: An Illustrated History, ed. Geoffrey C. Ward, Knopf (1994)