softball-d1 flag | February 6, 2023

How the Women's College World Series works

Every home run from the 2022 Women's College World Series

The best teams in DI college softball compete every spring in the 64-team NCAA softball championship for one of eight spots in the Women's College World Series.

Here is how the DI softball championship works, including the history and format.

What is the difference between the Division I tournament and the Women's College World Series?

The NCAA Division I softball tournament is a 64-team event in the spring. After two rounds of play (which each consist of multiple games in the regionals and super regionals), there are just eight teams left. These eight teams then play the Women's College World Series in Oklahoma City. The WCWS is the culmination of the DI tournament, where the teams compete in two brackets, with the winners of each meeting in the WCWS finals, a best-of-three series to decide the NCAA champion.

When did the Women's College World Series start?

The first NCAA-sponsored Women's College World Series was in 1982. UCLA and coach Sharron Backus defeated Fresno State in Omaha, Nebraska. The Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women and (at times) the American Softball Association sponsored softball championships from 1969 through 1982, according to the NCAA record book. John F. Kennedy College won the first three championships. 

How are teams selected for the NCAA Division I softball tournament?

There are 64 teams that make the championship field. Of those 64, 32 receive automatic bids by winning their conference championships. The remaining best 32 teams are selected by the DI Softball Committee. Sixteen teams are seeded and each of the seeded teams is placed at one of the regional sites.

What is the format for the NCAA Division I softball tournament?

The tournament is divided into regionals and super regionals ahead of the championship finals in Oklahoma City.

Regionals: Four-team, double-elimination tournaments are played on 16 campus sites. The 16 winning teams advanced to super regionals.

Super regionals: Two teams play in a best-of-three tournament format on eight campus sites. The winners from each site advance to the Women’s College World Series.

What is the format for the Women's College World Series?

Eight teams compete in a double-elimination format. The final two teams then play a best-of-three series for the national championship. The Women's College World Series has been played at the USA Softball Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City nearly every year since 1990. 

When is the Women's College World Series?

It is typically played in early June. Future dates can be found here on

How to get tickets for the Women's College World Series

You can purchase tickets for the WCWS and other events on

Who has won the most Women's College World Series?

UCLA has won 12 times (as of 2022). The Bruins won championships in 2019, 2010, 2004, 2003, 1999, 1992, 1990, 1989, 1988, 1985, 1984, 1982. The complete Women's College World Series championship history is here.

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Division I
Softball Championship
May 30 - June 6/7, 2024
USA Softball Hall of Fame Stadium | Oklahoma City, OK

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