The.500 rule is now in place for Division I women’s college golf. This change has been long desired by many coaches.

Mar, 2023

This is a change that has been talked about for many years and finally it’s coming to Division 1 women’s college golf.

The NCAA competitions oversight panel approved the.500 rule and last week, the NCAA informed coaches that the changes would be in effect for the 2024-25 season. A team must finish the regular season with at least a.500 winning percentage against other Div. Regionals are only available to I opponents. Only one exception applies: if a team is the conference champion. Div. Since 2007-08, the.500 rule has been in effect for I men’s golf college.

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Mark Bedics is the NCAA’s associate Director of Championships for Div. Mark Bedics, the NCAA’s associate director of championships for Div., told I women’s that the COC asked the women’s golf committee to reconsider the.500 rule. It was not voted on in 2016. In January, the committee sent out a survey to all 269 DI program assistants and head coaches. Around 75 percent of coaches answered the survey. More than 70% of those who responded voted for the cause.

“The COC returned and stated to women’s golf that they were not the only sport without a.500 rule. They then asked them why not,” Bedics explained to Golfweek. “We asked the COC why women’s golf was different than every other sport. There wasn’t any compelling reason. They passed it.

John Crooks, Campbell women’s coach, was one of those who pushed for the rule change. He stated that the rankings would be more accurate with more teams being recognized and invited to regionals, rather than those with losing records.

Crooks stated that the adoption of the.500 rule was great news for women’s Golf. “Finally, NCAA Committee looked at the issue with fresh eyes. “I would like to personally thank the members of the committee for doing the right things.”

Courtney Gunter, who is a head women’s coach at Western Carolina and a mid-major, played collegiately at North Carolina. She is able to see the world from both sides. Gunter stated that the.500 rule could keep her team out of a strange middle, but she supports the rule.

She stated that she believes the.500 rule has been long overdue in her sport. “Year after Year, we see at least one team get an at-large bid for regionals. It is based on the teams’ schedules, not their actual performance.

Teams with a record below.500 should not be eligible for regional spots. It is unfair to those teams that are just outside the magic number, but have proven they are worthy and have a great chance of making it in post-season.

The way teams create their schedules will be one of the biggest changes. This means that there will be more mixing of Power-5 and mid-majors.

“I think everyone recognizes that there will some changes in scheduling. It will be interesting for everyone to manage it,” said Todd Oerhlein, Wisconsin coach. “Less head-to-head competition between teams will only increase the accuracy of the rankings,” Oerhlein said.

Tommy Baker, James Madison coach: “The passing of the.500 rule will undoubtedly create a more equal playing field in terms of qualifying as an at-large’ selection to play in postseason play. It is not known of any other sport that allows teams to participate in the postseason with a record below.500 wins/loss records. This makes it a clear win on this front. It’s more difficult every season to increase our schedule strength, so this should give us more flexibility and allow us to take advantage of the opportunities that are available. While I respect and understand the concerns of my Power 5 colleagues, this opens up more possibilities than it blocks.

Laurie Gibbs is Pepperdine’s coach in her 30th year. She has led the Waves to 12 NCAA Championship appearances.

Gibbs stated that there are many tournaments of high quality and will rotate invitations every year to provide more opportunities to student-athletes and mid-major teams to play.

Five of the 50 top teams in the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings have a winning percentage less than.500 as February 24, 2015: Florida, Michigan North Carolina, California, Alabama, and North Carolina.

Carrie Forsyth, UCLA coach, supports the changes. She said that arguments against the.500 rule made by top programs sound like coaches trying protect their tournament schedules and themselves.

Forsyth stated that most top programs do not want to compete in weaker fields to make it to the postseason. “Women’s golf was the last NCAA sports to have a.500 rule, and that is not something we can justify in this current climate. We play a mix of high-level field events and low-level events. This new rule doesn’t require us to make any changes in what we do. Some programs might need to rethink the way they schedule.

The mid-major programs long yearned for more opportunities. Stefanie Shelton, East Tennessee State’s coach, said that similar to increasing the number of NCAA Championships teams to 30, this is a step in the right direction for women’s college golf.

Shelton stated, “I believe that the NCAA women’s team is more competitive than ever and I am pro-opportunities to the ladies.” “I believe that this move will open many doors for mid-majors.”

The schedules of teams won’t need to be rearranged. Most likely, only two to three tournaments will be changed, if any. In some cases, it may not even be possible.

The.500 rule will be lifted in college golf for women, effective 2024-25.

Bedics stated that this will allow student-athletes and teams to explore more courses and see areas of the country they’ve never been.

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