The College World Series or CWS is an annual baseball tournament held in Omaha, Nebraska that is the culmination of the NCAA Division I Baseball Championship, which determines the NCAA Division I college baseball champion.
The eight teams are split into two, four-team, double-elimination brackets, with the winner of each bracket playing in the best-of-three championship series. The tournament takes place in June of each year.The NCAA Division II and Division III baseball championships are described below, in the section on Other championships.
Since 1950, the CWS has been held at Rosenblatt Stadium in Omaha, Nebraska. Earlier tournaments were held at Hyames Field in Kalamazoo, Michigan and Wichita, Kansas (1949). The name "College World Series" (CWS) is derived from that of the Major League Baseball World Series championship; it is currently an MLB trademark licensed to the NCAA.
On June 10, 2009, the NCAA and College World Series of Omaha, Inc., which is the non-profit group that actually organizes the event, announced a new 25-year contract extension, keeping the CWS in Omaha through 2035.A memorandum of understanding had been reached by all parties on April 30.
The new contract will begin in 2011, the same year the tournament is scheduled to move from Johnny Rosenblatt Stadium to the TD Ameritrade Park Omaha, a new ballpark across from Qwest Center Omaha.
Through 1987, the College World Series was a pure double-elimination event. The format was changed in 1988, when the tournament was divided into two four-team double-elimination brackets, with the survivors of each bracket playing in a single championship game. The single-game championship was designed for network television, with the final game on CBS on Saturday afternoon.
In 2003, the tournament returned entirely to cable television on ESPN, which had been covering all of the other games of the CWS since 1982 (and a partial schedule since 1980).The championship final became a best-of-three series between the two bracket winners, with games scheduled for Saturday, Sunday, and Monday evenings.
In the results shown here, Score indicates the score of the championship game(s) only. In 2008, the start of the CWS was moved back one day, and an extra day of rest was added in between bracket play and the championship series.
Since 1999, the four-team brackets in the CWS have been determined by the results of regional and super-regional play, much like the NCAA basketball tournament. Prior to 1999, the pairings for the CWS were not determined until after the completion of the regional tournaments.
With some 293 Division I teams playing, the NCAA switched to a 64-team, Regional field in 1999, with 8 National (super) Seed teams, divided into 16 four-team regionals (each team seeded 1 to 4), with the winners of each of the 16 "Regionals" advancing to eight two-team, best-of-three-format "Super Regionals".
The eight Super Regional winners advanced to the CWS in Omaha, NE. In 2008, a number-4-seeded Regional team, the lowest seeding possible (akin to a #13-16 seed in college basketball's March Madness) the Fresno State Bulldogs won the CWS championship, against the Bulldogs of Georgia, winning two of three in the championship series.
The Division II tournament has been held at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, North Carolina since 2009, with the complex earning the bid to host through the 2011 championship.
Previously, the tournament was held at GCS Ballpark in Sauget, Illinois a suburb of St. Louis, Missouri in 2008. From 1985 to 2007, it was held at Riverwalk Stadium in Montgomery, Alabama (and previously Paterson Field). This division uses a single-game championship rather than the best-of-three series. In 2008 and 2009, the title game was shown on CBS College Sports Network.
The 48-team tournament is also marked by a strict and unbalanced regional structure. Teams are chosen from the division's eight geographical regions, with eight teams being selected to the South Regional, four teams selected to the West Regional and all other regional tournaments consisting of six teams.
Marietta College (Ohio) hosted the Division III baseball championship from its first year in 1976 through 1987. The 1988 and 1989 series were played in Bristol, Connecticut. Battle Creek, Michigan took over in 1990 and Salem, Virginia, in 1995. The Division III tournament has been held at Fox Cities Stadium in Grand Chute, Wisconsin since 2000. This division uses a pure "double elimination" format rather than the best-of-three series.