Oklahoma City —
Big 12 Conference athletic directors decided Tuesday morning to play the Phillips 66 Big 12 Baseball Championship. The format has been altered, and play will start today instead of Wednesday.
The athletic directors met by conference call to discuss options following the devastating tornado that hit Moore Monday afternoon. Three options were considered: Move forward with the schedule as is, alter the schedule/format or cancel the event.
“We debated canceling the tournament in deference to the devastating tragedy in Moore but were encouraged by Oklahoma City leaders and the Oklahoma City All-Sports Association to go forward,” said Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby. “We believe the tournament can serve as a testament to the strong Oklahoma spirit and to the resiliency of the Oklahoma people.”
Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett said, “We are very appreciative of the consideration by the participating teams and the Big 12 Conference. We encouraged and supported the decision to play the championship in a format comfortable to the Big 12.”
The format, which has previously been used by the Big 12, will feature two pools. K-State, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Baylor will play in one pool, with Oklahoma State, West Virginia, TCU and Kansas in the second pool. Each team will be guaranteed three games, and the team with the best record in each pool will advance to the championship game on Sunday.
The format will feature games at 9 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. CT on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The championship game will be at 1 p.m. CT on Sunday.
The Big 12 Championship determines the conference’s automatic qualifier for the NCAA tournament. The NCAA requires that the automatic bid be determined by midnight Sunday.
Tim Brassfield, executive director and CEO of the Oklahoma City All Sports Association, the host agency for the event, said that his organization reached out to Oklahoma City officials, and there was unanimous agreement that playing the games would help the area return to normalcy.