The NCAA just NCAA’d a women’s golf regional for stupid, capricious reasons

Brad Hurlbut makes the bewildering announcement on Wednesday.
Brad Hurlbut makes the bewildering announcement on Wednesday.
Screenshot: Golfweek

An NCAA Women’s Division I golf regional in Louisiana was canceled yesterday before any college athlete could tee off.

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Why? Good question. Apparently the LSU course was “not playable at a championship level” after several inches of rain. That according to NCAA committee representative Brad Hurlbut, who broke the news to the college athletes outside the clubhouse.

“Look, this is one of the most gut-wrenching decisions and announcements that I’ve ever been a part of,” he said yesterday. “Even though the course is playable, it’s not playable at a championship level. Therefore, the top six teams that were seeded — LSU, Mississippi, Baylor, Oregon, Maryland, and Alabama — will advance, along with the top three individuals that were not on those six teams.”

Everyone else? Season’s over. Pack up those clubs. Good luck next year!

Except… the course was playable, according to the women and their coaches — who reacted to the NCAA’s decision with justified outrage.

University of Miami freshman Sara Byrne caught the whole encounter on camera and posted it to Twitter.

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“Are you serious?” Hurlbut heard as he walked back up the steps. “You should be ashamed of yourself!” Someone in the crowd shouted.

And he, along with the other decision makers, should be.

‘Unplayable course’

On Tuesday, Miami coach Patti Rizzo walked the entire course. “The hole is totally fine,” she recorded herself saying at the sixth.

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Here’s another look at the “unplayable” course this week.

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In a statement, the NCAA Division I Women’s Golf Committee said it “regrets that the 2021 NCAA Division I Women’s Golf Championships regional in Baton Rouge could not be conducted as scheduled this week.” Citing the fact that, “The University Club has taken on over 7 inches of rain in the past several days. The Division I Women’s Golf Committee, NCAA staff and the Games Committee in Baton Rouge have been in constant communication throughout the past several days about the course conditions that have led to this unprecedented and most difficult decision.”

But if the rain was such a problem in Baton Rouge, how come the LSU Men’s golf team got to practice on their home course while the women were prohibited from playing?

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Unfortunately, the whole situation follows a familiar pattern with the NCAA and how they’ve handled women’s collegiate championship events in 2021.

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In March, women’s basketball players were not initially given adequate fitness equipment like their male March Madness counterparts. And last month, women’s Volleyball players played the first few rounds of their NCAA tournament without locker rooms to change in.

Forgive me, for I am not an avid (or good) golfer. But even I know one phrase from the game — “play the ball as it lies.” Both the NCAA and the golfers knew the course was “playable.” Who cares if it’s not at a “championship level?”

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Why not let these elite, D1 golfers adjust to the conditions, dodge the few wet spots left, and play the ball as it lies?