Oklahoma softball: Patty Gasso exploring playing softball at OU football stadium

NORMAN, OK - OCTOBER 29: Oklahoma Sooners fans wait to enter the east side of the stadium before the game against the Kansas Jayhawks October 29, 2016 at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Oklahoma. (Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images)
NORMAN, OK - OCTOBER 29: Oklahoma Sooners fans wait to enter the east side of the stadium before the game against the Kansas Jayhawks October 29, 2016 at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Oklahoma. (Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images) /
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As the most dominant program in college softball over the past decade, the No. 1-ranked Oklahoma softball team plays before capacity crowds every time it plays at home at Marita Hynes Field in Norman.

The two-time defending national champion Sooners have not lost a game at home since the pandemic-shortened 2020 season and have lost just twice at Marita Hynes Field in the last five season. OU’s home record over that time is an almost unbelievable 92-2.

Oklahoma will play its last home game at Marita Hynes Field during the NCAA Norman Regional this spring, which the Sooners will host May 19-21.

Next season, the Sooners will move into all-new $27 million Love’s Field, which will more than double the seating capacity for Oklahoma softball from around 1,300 currently to over 3,000. That may still be too small for the demand created to see one of college softball all-time great programs in action.

A little over a month ago, Oklahoma hosted the opening game of its weekend series with Texas at USA Softball Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City. The game set an NCAA attendance record for a softball game. A crowd of nearly 9,000 attended that game, eclipsing the previous NCAA record of 5,724 set by Fresno State in a 2000 game against Arizona State.

That got Sooner head coach of 29 years Patty Gass daring to dream and dream big. She had learned about the Nebraska volleyball program scheduling a game this coming August to be played in Memorial Stadium, home of the Nebraska football team. That stadium has 85,000 seats, and the school sold 82,400 tickets within 48 hours for the August volleyball match.

In addressing the OU capacity crowd during Senior Day last Sunday, Gasso said:

“If you’re looking at what we’re capable of, women’s volleyball at Nebraska is putting a court on the middle of their football field, and they’ve sold 80,000 tickets for that.

“So you know what my next conversation with (athletic director) Joe Castiglione is going to be,” she said.

It certainly is an interesting proposition, and there probably is little doubt the athletic department would be able to pack the palace for a Sooner softball game. But there are a host of obstacles to such a notion become a reality, not the least of which is fitting a regulation softball field within the confines of Owen Field.

In the meantime, Gasso and the Oklahoma football has unfinished business to take care of in the 2023 season. The Sooners are at Oklahoma State on the final weekend of the regular season sporting a nation-best 46-1 record and having clinched their 11th consecutive Big 12 regular-season championship.

Next week OU will eye winning its 11th straight Big 12 Tournament championship and earning the conference’s automatic berth to a 29th straight NCAA Softball Championship with hopes for a third consecutive national crown, something that only one other school (UCLA in 1988-90) has achieved.