College softball was growing by leaps and bounds bringing in record numbers of TV audiences and live game attendance numbers but all that changed when the COVID-19 pandemic hit and ground the entire world to a halt.
It started out with just some games scheduled for the near future being cancelled but as the virus numbers continued to grow came the decision that the rest of the 2019-2020 college softball season would be eliminated including the playoffs and the 2020 WCWS.
With that decision things in the softball world got thrown in to a whirlwind. Questions arose like what would happen to senior players? Would softball teams that don’t have deep pockets be eliminated from school programs?
The NCAA made the decision to allow seniors a extra, 5th year of eligibility, if they wanted it. This sounded good but created problems of its own. Player’s scholarship spots weren’t guaranteed. A lot of the players already had post graduation plans or jobs lined up and would they be able or even want to push them off to play another year of softball?
Then came the decision by Wisconsin that even if they wanted to return the university wouldn’t allow seniors to return and play in the 2020-2021 season. That their time spent at the university was done and it was time for them to move on.
Another big blow for the sport came when it was announced that the 2020 Olympics were delayed and looks like they might not happen at all unless a vaccine is found for the virus soon. The Olympic softball team is made up of both pro and top college softball players. This would have been the first time softball was included in the Olympic games since 2008.
The 2020-2021 college softball season as of now is up in the air. Rumors going around think that it might be a
shortened season with only regional conference games being played and then the playoffs.
Whatever happens the once very bright future of college softball has taken a big hit and unlike major revenue
generating college sports such as, football and basketball, it might be hard for softball to recover and get back to the point where they were before the virus struck and changed our world forever.