Memorial Day weekend has a number of traditions in the sports world. Among them is the unveiling of the NCAA baseball tournament field of 64, which leads to the College World Series.

For 44 years, it was just as much a tradition to see the Miami Hurricanes baseball team fielded somewhere in the tournament, typically with a solid seed. But that tradition is now over. Miami had its record streak of 44 consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances snapped on Monday as the field was set. Knowing they were in the rare position of being on the bubble, Miami players watched with plenty of anxiety to fill the clubhouse, the nervousness almost instantly transforming to disbelief they had been left out for the first time since 1973.

An NCAA baseball tournament without Miami is like having an NCAA basketball tournament without Kansas. Or a college football bowl season without Alabama. It could happen, but it’s not at all expected.

It was an agonizing situation for the Miami baseball program, huddled around the television in the Miami clubhouse as the last two teams in the field were announced. Once South Florida was announced, that left one spot left to fill, and it just so happened there was one automatic qualifier still to be announced: Bethune-Cookman.

Miami not being among the top 64 baseball programs in the nation is truly stunning. This is a program that has played in 25 College World Series in that 44-year span. It has won four national titles and taken runner-up in two more, with the most recent title being celebrated in 2001. Only two other ACC programs have won a College World Series, with Virginia in 2015 and Wake Forest in 1955.

Pouring salt on the wound for Miami is the fact that the longest streak of making the NCAA Tournament now belongs to conference rival Florida State. The Seminoles were selected to their 40th straight NCAA tournament, thus taking over the longest active postseason streak. Like Miami, Florida State was considered a bubble team for the NCAA Tournament coming into the final month of the season. But while Miami struggled to take control of its fate, Florida State went on a tear with a 12-2 mark and the ACC championship.

A wild final weekend of conference tournaments didn’t help Miami either.

“It’s a streak that’s unmatched in any sport in NCAA history. To be a part of that and be a part of that with coach (Ron) Fraser is an honor. Very disappointed that we didn’t get in,” Miami coach Jim Morris said to the Palm Beach Post. “But (Sunday), watching the games being played out and seeing all of the upsets, you know it starts shrinking down the number of at-large bids,” Morris said. “And I guess we were the last team not to get in.”

Oklahoma State upset Texas, 6-5, in the Big 12 championship game to complete an unlikely conference title run after entering the Big 12 tournament as the No. 8 seed just one game over .500. In the Big Ten, the conference’s top two seeds (Nebraska and Michigan) didn’t even reach the championship game, leaving the door open for No. 4 seed Iowa to grab the automatic bid with a win over Northwestern. Xavier pulled the upset in the Big East with a four-run seventh inning against St. John’s. That made the Big East a two-bid conference, wiping out one more spot for a bubble team. Miami was the first team out.

Despite season-long struggles, Miami had reason to feel good about their NCAA selection chances given historical trends. As noted by the Associated Press, 90 percent of ACC teams that were over .500 in conference play reached the NCAA Tournament. But historical trends can’t account for the upsets that happened around the country to eat up spots on the tournament grid.

This is hardly an indication Miami’s baseball program is no longer relevant. This could just be a disappointing blip on the radar for the Hurricanes. But for now, a long offseason is officially underway as Miami looks to figure out how to reverse course next season.

About Kevin McGuire

Contributor to Athlon Sports and The Comeback. Previously contributed to Host of the Locked On Nittany Lions Podcast. FWAA member and Philadelphia-area resident.