College softball is softball as played on the intercollegiate level at institutions of higher education, predominantly in the United States. College softball is normally played by women at the Intercollegiate level, whereas college baseball is normally played by men.
As with other intercollegiate sports, most college softball in the United States is played under the auspices of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) or the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). The NCAA writes the rules of play, while each sanctioning body supervises season-ending tournaments. The final rounds of the NCAA tournaments are known as the Women's College World Series (WCWS); one is held on each of the three levels of competition sanctioned by the NCAA. The 2007 Women's College World Series took place in Don E. Porter Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City near the site of the National Softball Hall of Fame in June after the regular season was over.
The first NCAA Women's College World Series was held in 1982, while the first-ever WCWS was held in 1969 in Omaha, Nebraska (sponsored by the Amateur Softball Association and the Division of Girls' and Women's Sports) and annually thereafter. The tournament now starts with 64 teams from 16 different regions that compete in a double elimination round to start off the championship, called regional. The sixteen winners then enter a 'super regional', usually held at the higher seed's home ground, for a best-of-three series. The eight winners then enter a modified double elimination tournament to determine which team is the national champion. Instead of being a 'true' double-elimination tournament, the tournament is split up so there are two brackets, though the losers switch brackets. The winners of each of the brackets move onto a best-of-three championship. The tournament is largely dominated by Pac-12 Conference teams, who have combined to win 21 of the 27 NCAA Division I championships through 2008, including 10 wins from UCLA (1995 championship vacated) and 8 from University of Arizona.
From 1969–79 and 1982–87, the WCWS was held in Omaha, Nebraska, where the Men's College World Series originated. In 1980–81, it was played in Norman, Oklahoma. In 1988–89, it was held in Sunnyvale, California. The finals have been played at the Amateur Softball Association's Don E. Porter Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City since 1990.
Fast-pitch softball became an Olympic discipline starting with the XXVI Olympiad of 1996. However, the International Olympic Committee discontinued both softball and baseball as Olympics sports after the XXVIII Olympiad in 2008.
In 2004 the International Softball Federation (ISF) held the first World University Softball Championship just two months after the 2004 Olympic competition. It was an eight country championship, with Team USA defeating Chinese Taipei for the gold medal. In 2006 the Fédération Internationale du Sport Universitaire (FISU) held the second World University Softball Championship in Taiwan, and in 2007 softball was added to the World University Games of FISU.
Junior College Softball
The  National Junior College Athletic Association was founded on May 14, 1938, due to the fact that track teams from two year colleges wanted a chance to compete in the NCAA, they were rejected, thus resulting in the creation of the NJCAA which became open to all sports, although, women's sports were not part of the organization until 1975. Junior college softball programs compete with in the NJCAA or the national junior college athletic association, Within the NJCAA there are divisions I, II,& III just like the NCAA. Amongst the divisions, there are regions and conferences each team gets divided into, At the division I level there are 19 regions, At the division II level there are 18 regions and at the division III level there are only 9 regions, given it is the lowest grade of “competition." Every year at the end of the regional championships there is a national tournament as well. The Division I tournament is held in St. George, Utah Division II tournament is held in Clinton, Mississippi Division III tournament is held in Rochester, Minnesota.
Getting recruited to play softball in college is difficult for anyone no matter what division a player wants to play in. According to the NCSA, only about 8% of high school softball players will compete at the college level, and approximately 1% will play Division 1 ball. So, why NJC AA? Junior colleges recruit thousands of elite athletes every year. In fact, many junior colleges are considered “feeder” schools for Division I universities. DI college coaches will turn to trusted junior colleges each year to fill roster spots. For many athletes, junior college or “JUCO” is a great way to knock out some core classes while honing athletic skills before moving on to a four-year university, as well as getting paying time. A softball player recruited into a big-time school as a freshman will likely face a lot of adversity to receive a starting spot and playing time. The junior college route allows athletes to secure playing time as freshmen and sophomores.
There are many ways for athletes to become recruited although women's sports tend to be neglected. Although Flo Softball, really helps the cause. They are a softball recruiting page devoted to helping athletes get to the next level. Now to bring it back to JUCO level, they have a Junior College hot 100 sophomore list where softball players playing in any divisions I, II or III can get exposure and hopefully get recruited by big-time schools. Ideally softball players like to be recruited out of high school to a bigtime program. But, Jennifer Mckibben is there to help keep athletes motivated. Mckibben is a true Juco product herself. Playing two years at Tallahassee community college and then transferring to Virginia tech.
- AIAW Champions
- Amateur Softball Association
- Australian Softball Federation
- College athletics
- College rivalries
- List of NCAA Division I softball programs
- National Softball Hall of Fame and Museum
- NCAA Division I Softball Championship
- Softball at the 1996 Summer Olympics
- Softball at the 2000 Summer Olympics
- Softball at the 2004 Summer Olympics
- World University Softball Championship
- Mary L. Littlewood (1998). Women's Fastpitch Softball - The Path to the Gold, An Historical Look at Women's Fastpitch in the United States (first ed.). National Fastpitch Coaches Association, Columbia, Missouri. pp. 145, 208. ISBN 0-9664310-0-6.
- Plummer, William; Floyd, Larry C. (2013). A Series Of Their Own: History Of The Women's College World Series. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, United States: Turnkey Communications Inc. ISBN 978-0-9893007-0-4.
- Michaelis, Vicki (June 8, 2008). "Baseball, softball bumped from Olympics". USA Today. Retrieved 2006-07-11.
- "International Softball Federation - ISF Timeline". Archived from the original on 2010-01-10. Retrieved 2009-10-10.
- "Softball 2006". Archived from the original on 2009-06-18. Retrieved 2009-10-10.
- "MA News: The Chinese Taipei Softball Team Sets Its Sight on the 2007 Bangkok Universiade". June 1, 2007. Retrieved 2009-10-10.
- "History of the NJCAA". NJCAA. Retrieved 2018-05-06.
- "How to get recruited for softball | Softball recruiting tips". www.ncsasports.org. Retrieved 2020-02-20.
- "Why junior college might make sense for you". USA TODAY High School Sports. 2017-03-29. Retrieved 2018-05-06.
- "Rising Star: Savannah Geurin Inspired By OU Great Keilani Ricketts". Retrieved 2018-05-06.