NCAA recommends 50% capacity for attendance at baseball, softball regionals

Adam Sparks
Nashville Tennessean

The NCAA has recommended Regional and Super Regional baseball hosts allow no more than 50% capacity at stadiums in June because of COVID-19 protocols, The Tennessean has learned.

An email obtained by The Tennessean and sent from the NCAA to member schools Wednesday recommended the guidelines. The guidelines also apply to all other outdoor championship events on the spring calendar, including softball and fall sports being played this spring. 

"The COVID-19 Medical Advisory Group recommended predetermined championship sites follow the guidelines established by the respective state and local authorities,” the NCAA email said. “The group recommended venue capacity for outdoor championship events could rise to no more than 50 percent capacity if permitted by those governmental authorities."

It's unclear whether the NCAA's recommendation will be a mandate. The NCAA declined comment.

That recommendation means different things to potential host schools.

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No. 2 Vanderbilt, the 2019 national champion, is permitting 40% capacity for home games. Increasing to 50% before June won’t be a big change.

No. 4 Mississippi State and No. 10 Ole Miss, however, are at or near 100% capacity. If they follow the NCAA recommendations, both schools would have to cut attendance in half for the postseason.

Also, host schools are required to make tickets available to all four schools of an NCAA Regional. That would also cut into fans' access to see their team play as host.

Who will host NCAA regionals?

The NCAA changed its process for selecting 16 Regional and eight Super Regional host sites this year to safeguard against COVID-19.

Sites will be predetermined to allow host schools to prepare for COVID-19 protocols, including testing spaces for players and coaches. Host sites will be announced the week of April 26 for softball and the week of May 10 for baseball.

Super Regional sites will be selected only from the Regional hosts. That means if a Regional host is eliminated, it would still host two visiting schools in the Super Regional round.

In past years, the top 16 seeds of the 64-team tournament served as Regional hosts, and the eight highest advancing seeds hosted Super Regionals.

The eight Super Regional softball winners advance to the Women's College World Series in Oklahoma City, beginning June 3. The Super Regional baseball winners advance to the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska, beginning June 19. projects the Regional baseball hosts to be Arkansas, Vanderbilt. TCU, Mississippi State, Oregon, Notre Dame, East Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Ole Miss, Texas Tech, Louisiana Tech, Arizona, South Carolina, Louisville and Stanford.

Their attendance policies vary greatly with six weeks remaining before the NCAA baseball tournament begins June 4.

Ole Miss is at 100% capacity. Arkansas is at 60%. TCU, East Carolina and Louisiana Tech are at 50%. South Carolina is at 40%, Texas at 25%, Notre Dame at 23% and Arizona at 16%.

This story will be updated.

Reach Adam Sparks at and on Twitter @AdamSparks.