Videos by OutKick
Northern Iowa softball is off to a rough start in 2023. The Panthers began the season 0-5 and are set to embark on a 24-game road stint that concludes on March 29th at Mizzou.
When they return to Cedar Falls, Iowa for their first conference game against Bradley on March 31, it will mark the first outdoor game of the season. Opening Weekend was played entirely inside.
Northern Iowa can’t plan on the weather in late February or early March, so it begins its season inside the most unique venue in college softball and then hits the road until it warms up. The Panthers hosted Iowa State, Nebraska at Omaha, Drake and South Dakota for the Doc Halverson UNI-Dome Classic last weekend.
As its name might suggest, the early-season tournament is played at the UNI Dome. The UNI Dome is technically a “multi-purpose stadium” on campus, but its main purpose is for football.
It’s an indoor football stadium. A dome, if you will.
Last weekend, UNI used the UNI Dome for softball.
It makes for the most unique, odd-looking setup in the sport.
Home plate sits along the sideline of the 30-yard-line. The pitching circle is right on top of the number marking the 40-yard-line. It is not dirt because, well, the game is played on turf.
Considering that football fields do not have outfield walls, fences are installed to mark the field.
Here is how the setup looks once first pitch rolls around:
If it doesn’t look weird enough without players on the field, here is how it looks when the ladies take to the turf football diamond:
It’s hard to tell exactly where the bases are and where the infield becomes the outfield, but the sideline is used as the third base line and 30-yard-line is used as the first base line.
Unfortunately, every softball game that will be played at the UNI Dome in 2023 have already been played. We will have to wait 364 days until the next game at softball’s strangest venue!