BREAKING: Rice baseball will host the 2023 Conference USA Baseball Tournament as the tournament shifts from Biloxi to member campuses starting in 2021.
Scheduling is going to look different across the landscape of college sports in the wake of the COVID-19 financial crunch. Conference USA will not be immune from those changes, some of which have already been put into action. Cutting down travel expenses wherever possible has been at the forefront of conversations.
One of the initial changes impacts the Conference USA Baseball tournament, which has been hosted at MGM Park in Biloxi, MS from 2017 to 2019. The tournament was scheduled to be played their again in 2020 before COVID-19 forced the cancelation of the season. Instead of the neutral site, the tournament is moving to member campuses.
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Rather than returning to Mississippi in 2021, the tournament will move to the newly renovated J.C. Love Field at Pat Patterson Park. The home of the Louisiana State Bulldogs, Patterson Park was severely damaged in a tornado that passed through Ruston, LA in April of 2019. Southern Miss will host in 2022.
The Roost has confirmed Rice baseball will host in 2023. The Owls lasted hosted the conference tournament in 2013. Christian Stringer was named tournament MVP and the Owls punched their tickets to the postseason as tournament champions. Changing backdrops have been a good thing for Rice since then. Rice won the tournament when it shifted to Hattiesburg, MS in 2014 and again when it moved to Biloxi in 2017.
This is the first notable shift in scheduling that has come out in the wake of the pandemic. Further considerations including changes to Olympic sports and basketball scheduling could also be on the table. We will continue to provide updates on those as they come.