It comes as no surprise seeing as Mississippi State has been in the top five of most publications’ top 25 rankings for most of the season, but Dudy Noble Field has officially been selected by the NCAA as one of 20 possible NCAA regional host sites, the NCAA announced Friday.
Because of COVID-19 protocols, the NCAA wanted to predetermine possible host sites for the eventual 16 regionals released ahead of the conclusion of the regular season. The sites for the 64-team tournament are not seeded, so the period to earn a Top 8 seed will likely go through each conference’s postseason tournament.
The NCAA will allow up to 50 percent fan capacity at these predetermined sites. Exact capacity percentages will vary by site, depending on state and local health mandates. That would limit the seating capacity Dudy Noble Field can offer, as MSU has not had any attendance restrictions for baseball games in recent weeks in compliance with the recent state order from Governor Tate Reeves.
“Certainly, this has been a unique season, but the committee is very appreciative of all of the schools that submitted bids to host. We received a number of quality bids from schools around the country that were interested in being a part of this championship, including a few potential first-time hosts,” said Jeff Altier, chair of the committee and director of athletics at Stetson in a statement. “We are extremely excited to bring the Division I Baseball Championship back in 2021 and let the student-athletes, coaches and fans once again experience this terrific event.”
Seven Southeastern Conference venues were selected as possible host sites, those schools including: MSU, Florida, Arkansas, Ole Miss, South Carolina, Tennessee and Vanderbilt. Other potential host sites include Southern Mississippi, Arizona, Charlotte, East Carolina, Gonzaga, Louisiana Tech, Notre Dame, Oregon, Pittsburgh, Stanford, TCU, Texas and Texas Tech.
The bracket and pairings for the 2021 Division I Baseball Championship will be released at 11 a.m. on May 31 on ESPN2.
Hodge is the former sports editor for The Dispatch.