NORMAN — Keilani Ricketts just wanted more time. That’s what the former Oklahoma pitcher said was the obstacle keeping her from playing for the USA Softball Women’s National Team at the World Cup of Softball this week in Oklahoma City.
“It’s really tough,” Ricketts said. “I had planned everything around playing for Team USA this summer. Of course I love playing in Oklahoma City in front of all the Sooner fans. I’m sad I can’t be there with the team.”
The World Cup begins today at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium. Team USA opens up against Canada at 7 p.m., but the reigning two-time national Collegiate Player of the Year will not be on the field.
While staff members of USA Softball said Tuesday it was her decision to not play, Ricketts said that’s not the case. According to her, it was Team USA who told her she could not be on the field unless she signed a long-term contract with the organization.
“I was always committed for playing out the entire summer,” Ricketts said. “I had told Ronnie Isham and I had told coach Ken Erickson that I was going to need the summer before I made any long-term decisions. We talked last week and they told me they wanted me to make a decision with the long-term contract before this summer even happens.
“I told them I just didn’t feel comfortable making a decision until after the summer was over. So they took that as a no. It sucks that it looks like I quit the team, but that wasn’t the case.”
Phone calls made by The Norman Transcript to Isham were not returned as of press time.
One of the reasons Ricketts wasn’t ready to make a decision on the long-term contract was because she wanted to see what was going to be the outcome of the vote in September that would decide if softball would be back in the 2020 Olympics.