Wednesday, August 20, 2008
How The NCAA Rules Affects Recruits
Yesterdays post might not have meant much to incoming High School sophomores and juniors, but parents and players should take note. The rules that the NCAA makes can greatly affect your son and his decision to go to a particular college. Today, we will tackle two of the issues discussed yesterday, Transfer Rule and Scholarships.
Amend The Transfer Rule
As we stated yesterday, the rule was put into place to protect the smaller schools from being raided by larger schools during the summer leagues. Like today, recruits that didn't get much action from larger universities as a high school player due to lack of physical maturity and skills, yet wanted to play baseball, usually committed to a smaller school. Back then however, it was a free for all and the player had the option of "upgrading" to that larger, more desirable school after a year or two.
The new rules state that a player must sit out one full year if he transfers to another school. We believe it is applicable to scholarship and walk-ons as well. (Reading the NCAA rules is like a foreign language)
Now, we like the transfer rule to a certain extent. But, if that university is not working out for a player and the coach is willing to release the players scholarship to seek out a better fit, the way the rules are worded now, that player has to sit out a year. That's wrong in our opinion. There are a multitude of reasons for a player to transfer...too much competition at his position, change of coaching staff, change of majors that isn't offered at the present school, lousy weather, not comfortable with the school and the social life, homesickness and moving to a college closer to home (it happens more than you think) and many more that we sure are good, legitimate reasons.
The key change or amendment that needs to take place is the mutual separation between coach and school based on the aforementioned reasons.
How does the present transfer rule affect recruits? The way the rules are worded now makes it even more important for your son to make the right decision based on the bigger university picture and not just the baseball facilities. Because, once your son takes that first class, he is stuck there. There's no turning back without penalty. Prospective athletes and their parents should take those college visits and guided tours, no matter how lame they may seem. Some of our campus tour guides at the many schools we visited were embarrassingly bad...but even then, they took us to parts of the campus that we would have never gone to and we learned a bit more than if we had just walked around ourselves.
Talk to the baseball coaches and ask them about their other recruits and where your son fits in. Go over the roster and find out their depth at your sons position and the grade of those players. If your son is an outfielder and there's six outfielders... five of which are seniors, then that's a good sign that the coaches are filling an immediate need. Look at the number of at-bats that their past freshman have had in past seasons. If there are a dearth of freshman plate appearances, ask the coach if that was due to better talent or team policy of not playing freshman.
Most top D-I universities will have 12-15 pitchers on their staff. Look at what class they are in and the innings they had in the underclass seasons. Due to the new rules and shortened seasons, it's a good time to be a heavily recruited pitcher. Chances are they will be looking hard at your sons ability to contribute during those weekday games. Because of the shortened season, many teams will have as many as 5 games a week. A team could use as many as 10-12 arms in one week alone...especially early in the season when the starters have pitch count limits. Ask the coach how many pitchers they used in the first 4-6 weeks of the season. That could be an opportunity for a recruit to get some innings in his freshman year.
The zenith of NCAA confusion can be summed up with one stat...Women's Crew gets 40% more scholarships than America's Pastime.
How does a major college program in our most important national sport, grant only 11.7 scholarships to 30 rostered players? There is rumor of a new proposal out there is asking for 14 scholarships....We Say, Not Enough...16?...Nada... 18?...Not Quite...How about at least 20!!! That's an equal two-thirds scholly for every player. That's so much better than the present combo of grants, loans and scholarships that they burden the player with now.
How does the present rules affect your son? College expenses in most states are roughly $20,000+ per year with tuition, books, room and board. Therefore, even with a "Scholarship", count on paying at least $12,000 out of pocket per year...That's how it affects your son. So, all of the travel ball, tourneys, showcases and camps you schlepped your son to over the years...What did it get you? A discounted coupon to go to college. Meanwhile, Stretch Armstrong on the basketball team gets a full ride...and then some.
Another issue is the fact that MLB had a record number of college players picked in the draft this year. Collegiate players are becoming more desirable, yet are the best athletes really there?
One of the top initiatives of MLB is to bring the inner city youth back to baseball. But how many inner city kids are being pushed away from the sport due to the costs involved to play at the next level? It's one thing to set up youth leagues, tourneys and camps to play through high school...but how many inner city families are able to pay for the part of college not covered by the scholarship? Is it any wonder why inner city youth athletes gravitate towards basketball and football?
Increasing the scholarships for baseball is not only a sensible solution, but has positive social implications as well.
So, what do we do? We can write. I'm not sure to whom we write, but I have included a link to the NCAA Baseball executives. Write all of them. They need to hear from more than just the coaches. They need to hear from all of you...the future of collegiate baseball.