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Report: Pac-12 to debut conference baseball tournament in Arizona

General view of action between the San Francisco Giants and the Chicago Cubs during the spring training game at Scottsdale Stadium on March 1, 2011 in Scottsdale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The Pac-12 will have a conference baseball tournament for the first time starting in 2021, the Arizona Daily Star’s Michael Lev reported Friday.

Lev added that it is scheduled to take place at Scottsdale Stadium the next three years. Scottsdale Stadium is the San Francisco Giants’ spring training home, located about five miles from Arizona State’s baseball home, Phoenix Municipal Stadium.

The Pac-12 previously has not had a conference tournament for baseball and instead jumped straight into NCAA Regionals. Their “Power 5” counterparts — the Big 12, Big Ten, SEC and ACC — all have conference tournaments.

A format for the tournament hasn’t been finalized, according to Lev, who said that one potential format is having the top eight teams out of 11 (Colorado doesn’t have a baseball program) play a double-elimination tournament.

It’s not clear whether the Sun Devils or Wildcats will be able to get in a normal number of games in the 2021 season ahead of this tournament debut, as schools feel the financial burden caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Most college sports teams get a significant portion of their revenue from football and basketball, whose upcoming seasons could be shortened by the pandemic.

“I think all attention and focus right now is on … finances, so football,” ASU baseball head coach Tracy Smith said Wednesday. “I think what’s going to drive all of those decisions — and we have the benefit of being a spring sport, that some of this stuff will sort itself out, but right now … everything’s on the table, because if we don’t have football to the extent where revenue’s generated, that’s going to impact everything.

“I’ve heard discussions about reduction of games and regional scheduling and all of those things, but to date, we’ve had nothing that has been mandated to us. But like I said, the situation is so fluid, but until they figure football out, I don’t think any of those questions are going to be answered.”

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