Three East Tennessee State women golfers will get to extend their seasons after the terribly disappointing end to the NCAA’s Baton Rouge Regional.
Julia Goodson, Grace Chin and Blanca Porta will represent ETSU at Barstool Sports’ Let Them Play tournament this week in Chandler, Arizona.
ETSU was one of 12 teams to have its season ended when last week’s regional hosted by LSU was canceled after two days of rain. The controversial cancellation announcement, which included the course being deemed playable, but not championship-caliber playable, led to national outcry. The top six teams according to the seedings were awarded the berths in the NCAA Championship. The other 12 teams were simply out of luck.
Barstool Sports, a digital media company, stepped in and created a tournament to invite the teams that had been eliminated without hitting a shot at the regional. It secured two courses at Whirlwind Golf Club — the Cattail and Devil’s Claw — and is also paying the expenses for all involved.
Each participating school’s compliance department had to go through the NCAA for the athletes to be allowed to play.
The three ETSU players left with Bucs coach Stefanie Shelton on Tuesday. The 36-hole tournament is being held Thursday and Friday. The Bucs had earned their spot in the regional by winning the Southern Conference tournament.
The players will actually be competing as unattached individuals but will be allowed to wear their teams’ colors and logos. Any team score being kept will be considered unofficial so it is more or less an individual tournament.
The NCAA Women’s Championship, which starts Friday, is being held in Scottsdale, 35 miles away. While LSU, Ole Miss, Baylor, Oregon State, Maryland and Alabama will be in the field thanks to their rankings, the other teams from their regional will be playing in a unique event.