Softball Common Sense...

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Posts: 1690
Joined: Wed Jan 18, 2012 12:09 pm

In case you didn't see it, Idaho State had to travel all the way to No. Dakota for softball this past weekend.

They were scheduled for three games...

They wound up playing one...

In 32 degree weather Friday with a 20 mile per hour wind...

The Saturday games were cancelled because of bad weather.

No. Dakota has an indoor football stadium, the Alerus Center that could be temporarily converted to softball, much as Holt Arena was the first location for ISU softball back in the 70's (home plate was right outside the current sports information office) but the NCAA won't allow softball to be played on a non regulation field.

So ISU has to bus all the way there, plus the financial expenses for one single solitary game. Makes PERFECT sense to me!!! (sarcasm implied...) to say nothing that trying to play in freezing weather is begging for an athlete to get injured.

You know if I were the schools in the Big Sky I'd force the issue here and basically tell UND / the NCAA either:

1. To let UND play in the football stadium because it's No. Dakota folks...the weather is brutal until May / June.
2. UND has to play ALL their conference games on the road (sucks for them but it is what it is)
3. Or schedule ALL UND home games for as late in the season as possible. If that means they have to play all their home games the final two weeks / 17 days of April into May so be it.

I mean it is simply ludicrous and insane for ISU to have to travel all that way by bus and pay all that money for one game. Those two games that were wiped out won't be made up by the way. And keep in mind that a few years ago when UND had a shot to make the Big Sky postseason tournament they were told that because they didn't play enough conference games due to weather cancellations, even if they 'qualified' percentage wise they wouldn't be allowed to participate.

Bottom line this is plain nuts.

Posts: 200
Joined: Fri Oct 01, 2010 7:39 pm

Heh, Pocatello actually averages more snow - a couple of inches more - than Grand Forks in the month of April.

I get that you, Jerry, and probably most of the teams don't like traveling to Grand Forks. It is what it is. Just from a few I've spoken with, it sounds like you'd need a Nobel Peace Prize winner to negotiate UND and NDSU being in the same conference. Time heals all wounds, though, so who knows.
Posts: 1690
Joined: Wed Jan 18, 2012 12:09 pm

My preferences have nothing to do with my comments. None.

To me it is simply stupid and a waste of time and more importantly money (which is a major issue at a lot of Big Sky schools) to have to go through what ISU softball just went though for one lousy game.

Especially, and I want to emphasize this, when there is an easy and obvious solution for a number of teams in the northern part of the country...simply play inside a football stadium if one is available and has a roof on it.

But the NCAA in their wisdom won't allow that anymore.

Well OK then. Force kids to play in difficult temperatures and bad conditions and risk getting hurt instead. Force schools to spend a lot of money with no guarantees they'll play any games that they need to play. (Just FYI, 21 games in the Big Sky have already been cancelled because of bad weather as of this writing this season)

When my wife and I were talking about this she brought up an interesting point / question. She asked if college baseball teams are allowed to play indoors. My answer was yes. The University of Minnesota used to play games at the Metrodome for example when it was still in use.

She said the way to get the NCAA to change their stance is for a school to file a Title IX lawsuit because of the difference. Hadn't thought of that myself.

And I don't think either one of us will be alive to see the day that UND and NDSU are in a same conference. Not going to happen. The original plan in case you don't know was for North AND South Dakota to join the Big Sky...however at literally the last minute So. Dakota got an invite from the Missouri Valley Conference for football and backed out.

Posts: 615
Joined: Fri Jun 16, 2006 8:20 pm
Location: Idaho

Not sure where you're getting your info from, but you've been misled.

NCAA softball teams CAN play indoors. Minnesota played softball in the Metrodome. They have hosted tournaments there. ... 08aac.html

Syracuse played a softball game in the carrier dome in 2012.

More importantly, here are 2016 & 2017 NCAA rules/changes.

2.17.2 Also,

Regarding alternative, non-traditional fields… When playing on a non-regulation field (i.e. a dome or multiuse facility) due to weather conditions, the field should have minimum fence distances as noted in Rule 2.11. If the actual fence distances are shorter and a fly, fair batted ball clears this distance, the batter shall be awarded a ground rule double, not a home run, and each base runner advanced two bases.

Many makeshift facilities are too short to meet the minimum home run fence distances so in an effort to more closely reflect what would have happened had the field been regulation and to not skew player/team statistics, this clarifies that a ground rule double is awarded rather than an out–of-the-park home run. Note this is to provide guidance for the alternative fields pressed into use due to weather conditions only. ... 081315.pdf

It should be noted, the University of North Dakota DOES NOT OWN the Alerus Center. They lease it from the city for events such as football. It just so happened that there was a Home Show on the weekend ISU played there. For an athletic administration which reminds us how important every penny is, it sure doesn't make financial sense to lease the Alerus center as a standby option.

It sucks ISU had to travel that distance, only to have 2 games cancelled. But they still won the game, therefore the series.
Posts: 1690
Joined: Wed Jan 18, 2012 12:09 pm


Thank you for the clarification. I was told and have been for some time that teams could not play indoors via NCAA rule. No excuse now for teams not to do that. It would be fair for the athletes and that's the most important thing.

Regarding UND I'm sure the city would be willing to work with them on a lease agreement. It's good for both parties especially Grand Forks from a PR standpoint. If there is one program in the Big Sky that doesn't have money concerns and not named Montana, its No. Dakota...the first school in the conference to be offering full cost of attendance scholarships starting this Fall.

I don't know whom you are referring to with the 'every penny' comment but because ISU is the road team in this case they shouldn't have to help pay for anything, that obligation would go to the home team, in this case UND.

And again this is not just an issue for ISU... it concerns a number of teams in the Rocky Mountains, Upper Midwest and Northeast. I point out again that according to the Journal before the opener of the Montana series, 21 games have already been cancelled just in the Big Sky this year via weather. I think some of those games could have been played inside.

Posts: 3
Joined: Sat Oct 30, 2010 8:10 am

UND just dropped baseball yesterday. We play in the WAC and our first home series was against Seattle last weekend in 40 degree wather. Dropping baseball will save $605k / yr, five scholarships, and 29 athlete slots for Title IX. Baseball was a legacy sport from DII, but there has been recent success like winning the college home run derby last year and shutting out USC in the first game this year. We no longer have a baseball stadium on campus and have no plans. Baseball played in a city owned ballpark a couple miles from campus near a HS.

Often asked the question of why we don't play softball in the Alerus, where some seats can be moved creating a larger field. But it doesn't make sense for the Alerus to lose out on possible concerts and exhibits for the few people that we show up for softball. We have new new indoor practice facility with a 100 yd field and 300 m track, but that is busy with HS track meets and other practices. The spring game will probably played there for footballike as it is expected to rain all weekend.

The new Vikings domed stadium should be open for this season and it was designed to be converted into a baseball field too. When the Metro dome was up, DII teams played in it almost continuously, including UND and NDSU in late winter and early spring.

What I would like to see at UND is lacrosse programs. They would mesh very well with our hockey and football fan bases and recruiting grounds (western Canada and Mn/Wi). Lax is growing fast on the west coast. Maybe ISU could consider it. It is not a full scholarship sport so those western lax athletes would flock to Pocatello for a chanice to play. W lax for softball and M lax for baseball. Makes sense for northern teams with domes.
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