On June 10, 2009, the NCAA and College World Series of Omaha, Inc., which is the non-profit group that organizes the event, announced a new 25-year contract extension, keeping the CWS in Omaha through 2035. A
memorandum of understanding had been reached by all parties on April 30.
1947 – Eight teams were divided into two, four-team, single-elimination playoffs. The two winners then met in a best-of-three final in
1948 – Similar to 1947, but the two, four-team playoffs were changed to double-elimination tournaments. Again in the finals, the two winners met in a best-of-three format in Kalamazoo.
1949 – The final was expanded to a four-team, double-elimination format and the site changed to
Wichita, Kansas. Eight teams began the playoffs with the four finalists decided by a best-of-three district format.
1950–1987 – An eight-team, double-elimination format for the College World Series coincided with the move to
Omaha, Nebraska in 1950. From 1950 to 1953, a baseball committee chose one team from each of the eight NCAA districts to compete at the CWS, which constituted the entire Division I tournament, as there were no preliminary rounds. (In 1948 and 1949, a selection committee in each of the eight districts chose its district representative based on the committee's own criteria, which might or might not include committee selections, conference champions, and district playoffs.) Through 1987 the College World Series was a pure double-elimination event. That ended with the
1987 College World Series. In 1954, the Division I tournament began having preliminary rounds to determine the eight CWS teams. From 1954 to 1975, the number of teams in the first round of the overall tournament ranged from 21 to 32. The number of first-round teams was increased to 34 in 1976, 36 in 1982, 38 in 1985, 40 in 1986, and 48 in 1987.
1988–1998 – The format was changed beginning with the
1988 College World Series, when the tournament was divided into 2 four-team double-elimination brackets, with the survivors of each bracket playing in a single championship game. The single-game championship was designed for network television, with the final game on
CBS on a Saturday afternoon.
Before expanding to 64 teams in 1999, the 1998 Division I tournament began with 48 teams, split into 8 six-team regionals. The 8 regional winners advanced to the College World Series. The regionals were a test of endurance, as teams had to win at least four games over four days, sometimes five if a team dropped into the loser's bracket, placing a premium on pitching. In the last two years of the six-team regional format, the eventual CWS champion –
Southern California in
1998 – had to battle back from the loser's bracket in the regional to advance to Omaha.
1999–2002 – With some 293 Division I teams playing, the NCAA expanded the
overall tournament to a 64-team Regional field in 1999—with 8 National Seed teams (the top 8 seeds)—divided into 16 four-team regionals (each region seeded 1 to 4). The winners of the 16 "Regionals" advance to a second round, consisting of 8 two-team, best-of-three-format "Super Regionals". (The National Seed teams that win their regional bracket are placed in different Super Regionals, so that no National Seed teams meet each other in a Super Regional.) The 8 Super Regional winners advance to the CWS in Omaha. While the CWS format remained the same, the expanded field meant that the eight CWS teams now are determined by the second-round Super Regionals. The 64-team bracket is set at the beginning of the championship and teams are not reseeded for the CWS. Since the
1999 College World Series, the four-team brackets in the CWS have been determined by the results of super-regional play, much like the
NCAA basketball tournament. Prior to 1999, the four-team brackets were determined by the regional tournaments.
2003–present – The championship final became a best-of-three series between the 2 four-team bracket winners, with games scheduled for Saturday, Sunday, and Monday evenings. In the results shown below, Score indicates the score of the championship game(s) only. In 2008, the start of the CWS was moved back one day, and an extra day of rest was added in between bracket play and the championship series.
SCBA was Southern California Baseball Association (1977–84).
The Big 12 does not claim any national championships, including baseball, that were won as members of the Big Eight and makes no claim to the history or records of the Big Eight.
The Western Athletic Conference claims 7 national championships in baseball by former members. There are no gaps in its existence. The Conference has existed continuously since its inception.
Coastal Carolina won the 2016 CWS as a member of the Big South Conference less than 24 hours before officially joining the Sun Belt Conference.