Softball coaches: NCAA can do better with gender equality

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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma softball coach Patty Gasso has had enough.

Her Sooners are closing out another dynamic season by playing Florida State in the best-of-three Women’s College World Series final this week. But lately, she’s had more on her mind than winning between the lines.

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About a month ago, she lit into the NCAA for its WCWS format. She pointed out that the men’s College World Series stretches over nearly two weeks and does not include doubleheaders while the women’s tournament lasts no more than a week and forces several teams to play doubleheaders. She said the current format is a health risk for her players, and that she has, at times, been uncomfortable with how she has had to use pitchers while winning her four national titles.

Gasso’s ire was raised again this week after Florida State and Oklahoma State played a WCWS game that started at nearly midnight and didn’t end until after 2 a.m. on Sunday. Though a rain delay pushed things back, she felt the situation could have been avoided. In the men’s World Series, there are more days off and more scheduling flexibility.

“It’s very uncomfortable when we are talking to our players about standing up for what is right, yet, what is happening around us is not right,” Gasso said. “And the players will do whatever you put in front of them. They’re not going to complain. They’re going to go to bed at three, wake up at seven, because it’s the World Series. But that’s not the memory they need to have.”

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