Mizzou baseball, softball eligible for 2021 postseason

Eric Blum
The Examiner
Missouri head softball coach Larissa Anderson claps during a 2019 game.

Missouri’s baseball and softball teams will be eligible for the postseason in 2021.

The official Mizzou athletics Twitter account posted Monday morning that the school received word late last week the programs’ postseason bans had been served.

There was concern within the athletic department that the bans would be deemed incomplete after spring seasons were cut short due to the coronavirus pandemic, opening the question of whether the bans would still need to be served next year.

That’s not the case, however.

The trio of postseason bans handed down by the NCAA as part of sanctions tied to an academic fraud case involving a former tutor have now all been completed.

“Best news we’ve had in a while!” Missouri head softball coach Larissa Anderson tweeted Monday. “So happy for our players and fans that we now have an opportunity to go after our dreams.”

Anderson broke the postseason news to her team Monday morning, according to a video posted to the official Mizzou softball Twitter account.

In the video, Anderson can be seen standing in the outfield at Mizzou Softball Stadium, showing in the background the super regional and Women’s College World Series appearances for past Tiger teams.

“Everything you guys came to Mizzou to do and accomplish, that’s what we’re focusing on,” Anderson said in the video. “So get your mind set that we’re hosting from here on out. That’s our goal, that’s our dream, that’s what we’re set out to do. So a top-16 seed in the country, we’ve got an opportunity to host right there.”

The Missouri football team didn’t participate in a bowl game after the 2019 season despite having the six victories normally required to be eligible.

Tigers baseball was 11-5 before its 2020 season was canceled, while MU softball was nationally ranked with a 19-7 record this spring.

“Our program is clearly pleased with today’s news,” Missouri head baseball coach Steve Bieser said in a statement. “Our players and coaching staff have faced great challenges on and off the field.

“Following the shortened 2020 season and now the renewed ability to compete in postseason play, we are extremely eager to prepare for and contend in the 2021 campaign.”

The NCAA originally announced the sanctions against the Missouri football, baseball and softball programs Jan. 31, 2019, after the university self-reported the violations.

MU appealed the severity of the sanctions, only to hear back last November that all were upheld – around 72 hours before kickoff of the football team’s season finale against Arkansas.

Baseball and softball were also ineligible for the Southeastern Conference tournaments because of the postseason bans.

All three Tiger programs impacted by the sanctions are eligible for SEC and NCAA championships during the upcoming school year.

“After two years of overcoming adversity, I’m excited we’re now able to turn the page and move forward,” Anderson said in a statement. “When our players chose to come to Mizzou, their dream was to reach the Women’s College World Series.

“Now we can focus on our goal of bringing postseason softball back to Columbia and returning to the pinnacle of our sport.”