Friday, November 28, 2008

Turkey Award

RT Staff Note: This years Turkey Award goes to the NCAA for the second straight year. But rather than criticize, we are offering suggestions to improve college baseball courtesy of an article written by Kendall Rogers a few months ago. We are reprinting this article for a few reason...First, we are on vacation and feeling a bit lazy today and second, Kendall is on to something...He did a follow up article this week and had a conversation with a few coaches on the issues below. Some will be implemented soon and some won't, but it seems the criticisms of the way college baseball is structured today needs a lot of tweaking. Enjoy the rest of your holiday.

By Kendall Rogers

There's no question most coaches agree with the idea of a uniform start date. In its first test this past season, the uniform start date was welcomed with open arms. The timing of the start date? Not so much. I think everyone likes the idea of teams starting the season at the same time. However, many coaches believe the season should start two weeks earlier, leaving teams with more time to play 56 games. In the first season of the uniform start date, the condensed schedule caused a variety of issues.

Football, basketball and baseball are popular sports on the collegiate level, but you'd never know that by the way the NCAA treats each sport. Football and basketball generally have rules put in place to help the sports. Baseball is on the other end of the spectrum. Though it's true some Division I institutions still don't have baseball scholarships, the list is small. For now, baseball has a scholarship limit of 11.7. Several coaches have proposed the scholarship total be raised to 14.7, but we have our doubts that will change.

Most coaches I've spoken with this summer are relieved at the absence of transfers. Because of the new transfer rule, players must now sit out a year if they choose to transfer schools. For the smaller schools, the transfer rule has been a huge relief. No longer can the larger schools use the summer leagues and other avenues as recruiting zones. However, there are some losers in this situation. Sure, the transfer rule is a step in the right direction. But allowing no transfers is going too far. Therefore, we propose that players can transfer if the school they're leaving gives them a full release, regardless of conference affiliation. That certainly could keep larger schools from raiding smaller schools, while also giving players the ability to transfer.

The selection committee generally does a good job with the Regional host site selections, but the same can't be said about where they place teams. Nothing this past season was more disappointing than the Long Beach Regional, where the committee paired Long Beach State, San Diego, California and Fresno State together. Long Beach State won the Big West, San Diego won the WCC, Fresno State won the WAC and California was a very dangerous team. Amazingly, Fresno won the Regional as a four seed. They also won the national title. Though the NCAA won't come out and say it, they stack the West Coast teams for attendance purposes. That may be a plausible answer, but that doesn't mean it's right. The NCAA should adopt a Regional system that consists of a field of 64 equally spread out.

With college baseball gaining popularity, it's time to improve the television contracts. The SEC and ACC have respectable television contracts with many regular season contests and their respective conference tournaments on television. The same can't be said for the Big 12, Pac-10 and C-USA. If the sport wants to get over the biggest hump, better television contracts must be negotiated. ESPN does a good job with the Super Regionals and College World Series, but its coverage the other four months of the season is laughable. The sport must spread the wealth to succeed.


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