Wednesday, February 20, 2008
The $5 Piece Of Plastic
We had interesting responses from a couple of readers on yesterdays post. We like interaction and we are going to break the comments down...It can be read below the posting...just click on comments.
The basic ideas for our anonymous responders, was that high school and college baseball is straying away from it's priorities on education. It's more about the trophy...or as we like to call it..the $5 piece of plastic. Generally, we would say we agree, but after some research, we have a different take...and there are some surprises as well. In bold are their comments and our response is below that.
" After over 50 years in sports what has changed tremendously is that youth sports and HS sports are now run by non-teachers. There are two components to high school - the first is education, classwork. Look at how many select teams have people who make a living from baseball academies and so forth. Historically, youth sports has become a big business."
We don't disagree with this statement as it pertains to education. Education should be first. In high school, many but not all coaches are also teachers. And with the travel teams we know, they all preach that good grades and talent is the only way to get a college scholarship. Many of the top travel teams that we have talked about for the past three months will not take a player if their grade point isn't at the very least, a 2.8...many won't take below a 3.0. Yes, youth sports may be a big business, but it wouldn't be a big business if their wasn't some success associated with it.
Now as it pertains to college, it's becomes a bit more complicated. A player should play college ball to go to college, but sometimes, if a player is very good, the pro scouts can get in the way of graduation. Good players get drafted after their junior season...and there are literally hundreds more opportunities to play professionally in baseball than in any other sport period. Look at the draft board...Look how many eligible juniors are in the top rounds. Hundreds...
This year and beyond, there are a whole new set of problems...time. Since the NCAA has shortened the season without cutting the number of games that need to be played, teams have less time in the classroom and less hours to take during the season. That has a direct affect with on-time graduation. And, unlike football and basketball which give 100% scholarships which includes an opportunity to make up their classess and required hours in the summer, baseball players are lucky to get 50% scholarships. And, because baseball get assigned to summer leagues too, there's not an oportunity to make up for lost hours in the summer like football and many basketball players can. We would like to see more players graduate on time, but the NCAA is making it harder and harder. Many do graduate unless they have a long career in the professional ranks. They just don't always graduate in the NCAA allotted time frame.
"Look at the players who go on to play at some level in college and do not graduate. Why does baseball have the lowest APR of all sports in the NCAA. How many baseball players are working in the real world in a job that does not involve baseball?"
That statement is unfair and false. First, baseball does not have the lowest APR of all the sports. According to the NCAA web site he directs us to, the average APR's by sport for men's teams has baseball ahead of basketball and football. Baseball has an average APR of 934, football is 931 and basketball is 927. They are all below the other men's sports like golf, tennis, track and wrestling...mainly because there are very few opportunities to play professionally in those other sports. The big three have many opportunities, both here in America and abroad. And how many baseball players are working in the real world that does not involve baseball? Who cares? How many non-athletes are working in the field that they majored in? Scott Boras, the super agent has two post graduate degrees...law and medical...He also played baseball in college and the passion was so intense, he couldn't stay away from it. It worked out quite well for him. The thing about baseball is that it is a real passion for many, many people...so what is wrong with working in baseball after college...especially if baseball was the real passion?
"One critical question that coaches should ask is when a player is done (they all reach the end sooner or later) will they be able to go out and work for a living outside of baseball. Will they be successful and will their experience in HS be a positive one or one where the player looks back and wonders what did I learn?"
We don't know where he is going with this. Of course, high school experiences are all about graduating and getting good grades if one wants to play in college. And, if this is achieved, the high school experience should be great and the lesson learned is that if they have a passion for the game and are good enough, they join the elite club of student athlete.
"There is always another game. It is not about the program with the most trophies. It is about the learning. Find quality people not quality baseball people to help your child learn and grow. They are not mutually exculsive"
Amen. That we totally agree with. It's not about the $5 trophy. It's about learning, discipline, leadership, responsibility and mental maturity. But we do know many quality baseball people that are not only quality people, but incredibly passionate human beings that will bend over backwards to help their players learn the life lessons necessary to succeed at any level and any career.
"Is baseball, basketball or even football not just another honors class?Thank God I no longer have kids in High School."
Thank goodness we still do have kids in high school. While there are problems with some sports in some areas of many cities, for the most part, high school sports is more focused, and in todays world, we don't see the stereotypical "dumb jock" type that we may have seen in the 60's and 70's....we are a generation that is way too hands on to let that happen to our kid...especially in baseball.