Currently the OVC plays a three-game series spread over two days, with the teams playing a doubleheader on Saturday (with one of those games being a 7-inning game, the other a 9-inning affair) and a single 9-inning game on Sunday.
Starting in 2012 the series schedule will move to a three-game series over three days (Friday-Sunday), with a single 9-inning game being played each day. Games on Friday will begin no earlier than 3 p.m. local time and no later than 6 p.m. local time.
The item was unanimous approved by the OVC Board of Presidents at its meeting last week.
The OVC was previously one of just six Division I Conferences that consistently played a three-game series over just two days.
One of the biggest advantages of the new schedule is the improvement of student-athlete welfare. The new format will lessen the burden of long Saturday doubleheaders (that in the past could last up to 9-10 hours) and help protect the teams from an increased risk of injury. It will also give OVC programs a competitive advantage as it will allow them to use their ace pitchers (who will normally pitch during the Friday contest) during important mid-week contests with the appropriate amount of rest, thus improving the league’s performance in those key matchups.
Another advantage is the flexibility in playing the three-game series when weather becomes an issue. Previously when the Saturday doubleheader was rained out, the teams played a doubleheader on Sunday if possible and missed at least an entire game in the series. Should weather be a factor with the new schedule, teams could play a doubleheader on either Saturday or Sunday and avoid missing as many key Conference games.
Last season 11 total Conference games were rained out, including two entire series (Austin Peay/Morehead State and Eastern Kentucky/Tennessee Tech); eight of nine OVC teams lost at least one OVC game to weather last year (UT Martin was the only one to play all 24 games) while Morehead State lost a league-most five contests.