Monday, December 22, 2008

Major or Mid Major...Does it Really Matter?

There have been some web sites that have discussed the difference between majors and mid majors in baseball. As your son considers his baseball future and goes through the stacks of letters he has been receiving, should weight be given to the overall image of the conference as it relates to other sports? Or, should more weight be given to how that school rates as a baseball conference?

In football, a major is defined as residing in a BCS conference, while a mid major is a non-BCS conference. In basketball, the lines of distinction are less defined. While teams that are also strong in football in the ACC, PAC 10, Big East, SEC, Big 10 and Big 12 are considered the cream of the crop in basketball, there are still teams like Gonzaga, Davidson and Memphis is lesser conferences that rise to top consistently, year after year.

In baseball, the traditional basketball and football power conferences are hardly blips on the radar in baseball. The Big East is considered one of the best conferences in basketball, but one of the worst in baseball. The Big 10 is a football and basketball powerhouse, but a perennial baseball lightweight.

Likewise, the Southern Conference is hardly a powerhouse in any sport and three of the teams in their conference don't have football, but they can really compete in baseball with the emergence of Coastal Carolina, Elon. The Big West, West Coast Conference, WAC and Conference USA also are considered mid majors in other sports, but in baseball, are all national powerhouse conferences.

The Big West is considered by many to be one of the top 5 baseball conferences in the country. Yet, only two Big West schools have football, and the conference is rarely granted an at large NCAA berth in basketball. The West Coast Conference also is not a football conference.

Many students, it would seem, would prefer the total university experience and flock to schools that have football and competitive basketball. But except for the SEC, Big 12, PAC 10 and ACC, the traditional power conferences may not be a viable option for that player that wants the best choice for his baseball career. What should a recruit do?

First of all, we have stated time and time again that a student should pick the college with the mindset that if baseball wasn't in the picture, would he go there? That said, he certainly doesn't want his baseball experience at that school to be compromised either. The best advice we can give is for a recruit to take advantage of all of his official visits and to take as many unofficial visits to schools as well. College is a life altering decision in of itself...and a player needs to do his homework. If a team in the Southern conference or Big West do not have football, or do not compete well in basketball, ask the players on the team if they miss that.

Ask them about the total college experience and the life of a student athlete there. You may be surprised at the answers. Don't go into the process with a skewed view on what the college life is supposed to be about. College is what a student athlete makes of it. Besides, sometimes a student athlete is so busy with the rigors of daily practices, strength and conditioning, school and studying that the other extra-curricular activities sometimes become a distraction...It's best to ask a lot of questions when making that decision. The following is another whole list of questions from High School Baseball Web that a student should ask a coach and himself when picking a college. We hope this has been helpful.

Questions for Coaches

What kind of academic support does the college provide? (tutors, etc)
What is the team grade point average?
What is the team graduation rate?
What are some of the majors of team players?
Is my scholarship guaranteed for four years?
What are your red-shirt procedures?
Will I be red-shirted in my freshman year?
Does the scholarship cover summer school?
Will the scholarship cover a fifth year if necessary?
At my position, what does the depth chart look like?
Where do I stand on the recruiting list?
What are my scholarship opportunities?
How many assistant coaches are there?

Questions for Team Members

Does the coach teach at the school?
What is the morale of the team?
Does the team like the staff?
Is the coach interested in academics?
Do the athletes really have to go to all classes?
How long is practice?
Would you go to this school if you had to choose again?
What is the average class size?
What are the dorms like?
Are the professors accessible?
Do the athletic dept. tutors do a good job?

Questions for Admissions

What is the average class size and ratio per professor?
Who teaches classes? (Professors, teacher assistants)
What is enrollment of college?
How is my major regarded?
What percent of graduates from my major receive jobs within three months of graduation?
How many fraternities and sororities are available?
What are the housing policies?
May I sit in on a class in my major? (as a guest)
How accessible are counselors to me?

Summary Question for Yourself

Did I have a good overall feeling about the school?
Would I go to school here if I wasn't going to play sports?
Will I fit into the athletic program?
Am I satisfied with the living arrangements?
Am I satisfied with the academic opportunities?
Many additional questions will, and should, come up throughout your recruiting process. The bottom line in choosing a college is simple.... Choose a school that you would go to if you were not going to play sports!

Your chances of playing professional sports is very slim. Go to college to get an education, meet lifetime friends, play some sports & have fun! When the final whistle blows and you're 21 years old and out of college, what you will have is experience, memories and a college degree. Don't make the mistake of selecting a college only because they are the only school that offered you a scholarship.
Pick a college because that's where you would want to spend the next four to five years of your life.


Anonymous said...

My son has a chance to go to a California school that doesn't have football and on an official visit, he asked a bunch of the players if they missed not having football and they all said no. They love football, but they are so busy that that really don;t miss it. They said that there was enough other things to do at that school to occupy their free time. Plus the school is in one of those top baseball conferences you mentioned and it would be a great fit for my son.

Anonymous said...

This article makes sence but is riddeled with errors. The Big East and Big Tem are usually ranked in the 10-12 area as far as conferences go and that is out of 31 conferences. Michigan is a legit program as is Louisville who was just in the WS 2 years back.

Coastal Carolina is in the Big South Conference not the Southern along with Elon.

When being recruited for baseball which is so much different then the other sports because of scholardhip limitations, it's very difficult for players to land in their dream schools. Your obejective as a player is to find A coach who likes you. Impress 1 and hopefully more will folllow. It will most likely be a school that you have never given thought to,

I enjoy reading your blog and agree with much of what you say.