Friday, December 12, 2008

Rewind...What Colleges Should You Contact

Did you know that there are 270 NCAA Division I programs? Are you good at math? That's over 9,400 student/athletes on D-1 baseball rosters right now.

Want more? There are 1,200 Division II, Division III, NAIA, and Junior College teams. (See link of NCAA Colleges that have baseball teams in the Sidebar to the right under Useful Sites and Links)

Based on the same 35 man roster, there are 42,000 active players at D-2 or lower. No problem right? Your son should be a shoe-in to play college ball...Right???? Well, not exactly. There are several other factors you should consider before you start packing up the trailer for college. First and foremost, college baseball doesn't hand out 100% scholarships. In fact, they are required to only offer 25%. If you want more than that and want to attend a top school, the your son better be one of the top 100 players in the country. If he isn't, here's help...

If your son is a freshman, start researching camps and showcases and make sure he is on one of the top college development programs ...If he is a sophomore...start now!!!

Grades and Talent

You hear stories about how easy academics are for student athletes in college...Well, it is NOT! Especially in baseball. If your son is to play at the college level he must have good grades...period!!! He must also have projectable baseball tools that the college programs are looking for to fill their immediate needs.

As soon as he enters high school, his focus should be on the books. Establish a good grade point early, because as he gets older and the demands of high school baseball get greater, he will need some cushion. But high school baseball is only a small part of the process. In the summer, he needs to get serious and attend "select" camps at colleges where he might want to go to school, and play on a competitive select, CDP summer and fall team. Scouts tend to follow the teams with the better athletes that enter the better tournaments. Simple economy of scale.

In the summer following his sophomore year, he should develop a list of realistic schools -- Again be realistic...that list should be all inclusive...from junior colleges to top 50 D-I, II, and III programs. Parents should listen at the camp and showcase scouts...they will tell you what level your son can play or what he needs to work on to get there.

The following is an older excerpt from Baseball Parent Magazine that we found very helpful back in teh day when we were in your shoes...

...How do you market your son's baseball talents? Who might really be interested in him? How many -- if any -athletic "exemptions" (special academic consideration for athletes) do prospective colleges allow? Where does your son want to play? What will determine where he chooses to play? And will anyone help you with the search? Probably / maybe not. You and your son just may have to do it all by yourselves.

For starters, his high school coach may be too busy to worry about your son's college career. On the other hand, he might be a great help in steering your son to the best program, for him. He might take the initiative to send introductory letters to coaches notifying them of your son's interest in playing college ball and his legitimacy as a prospect. He might also provide spring, summer and fall game schedules and post-season statistics. Over the course of a several month recruiting process, he might spend hours on the telephone with coaches promoting your son. Some coaches may even spend still more hours helping your family weigh his decision.

Early on in the process you'll want to assess the reputations of college baseball programs that are of interest. Eventually you'll want to make visits to check out baseball facilities; the coaching staff; the quality of the program; the off-season conditioning and training facilities; the number of fall, intersquad, exhibition, and regular season games (which could be as many as 100); and to check out the community support.

Explore the possibility of signing early, in November of your son's senior year. For some families, this can be a good decision, because it could spare your son the frustration of a prolonged search and allow him to enjoy a less anxious senior year waiting to see who wants him. If an early signing is an option, college visits should begin during the fall or winter of your son's junior year.


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