Wednesday, November 7, 2007
Jeff Francis, the 6'-5", 17-game winner for the Colorado Rockies played a significant role in the teams red-hot winning streak that propelled them into the World Series this year. However, the path Francis took to the Majors is quite different then the majority of today's big leaguers. The Vancouver native chose to hone his skills at University of British Columbia, a small NAIA school. Since Francis’ success, 10 former UBC Thunderbirds have been drafted.
NCAA Division II schools had 63 players taken in the 2007 MLB draft and D-III schools have an average of 30 players taken each year. Our point is...There is great baseball at the small colleges and in many instances a more well rounded education as well.
While the smaller schools aren’t as loved by the national press, they are the darlings of the local media, especially in the smaller communities. Many of these small schools are the pride of the small towns they reside in and have a great fan base as well. (Not all small schools are in small towns, but many are) And many of these smaller schools have every bit as much tradition and history as the D-I’s too.
And here’s a couple of interesting facts…Did you know that while D-III doesn’t offer athletic scholarships, more athletes play in D-III than any other NCAA division? Another interesting note is that NAIA schools can actually offer more funded scholarships. (not a lot more…but more nevertheless) NAIA can give out 12 scholarships, while D-I is stuck at 11.7.
Division III and NAIA colleges and universities offer some of the best education in the country as well. Ranked D-III schools, Johns Hopkins (34-9 in 2007) and Washington University in St. Louis (30-9 in 2007) have two of the most prestigious medical schools in the country. Many NAIA, D-II and D-III schools provide greater student-teacher ratios, attractive settings, and some of the best job placement opportunities in the nation after graduation.
High school student athletes who want to play sports in college, and are not being recruited by major college programs may still have a chance to play baseball at NCAA Division II, III or NAIA colleges. So, expand your letter and e-mail campaign to the many smaller colleges in your area as well. In the right hand column of this site, you will find a list that includes all D-I, D-II, D-III and NAIA schools that offer baseball. Look at their sites and see which one may fit your goals academically, while satisfying that competitive urge to play a college sport. Good Luck..till next time..
The Rounding Third Staff