Tuesday, May 12, 2009
If Teams Invest In Their Baseball Programs...People Will Come...They Most Certainly Will Come
On Rivals College Baseball, a poster suggested that football reduce it's scholarships and grant them to baseball. While I agree with that in theory, there has to be some guidelines.
About the discrepancy of scholarships between football and baseball. I have been saying that for years. Baseball barely has enough scholarships to field one team. (9 starters, a DH a middle reliever and .7 closer)
Right now football has scholarships up to and including a full fourth string offense...up to and including a full third string defense plus 8 other players. A back up kicker and punter get full rides, yet Steven Strasburg gets 50%?
I think the NCAA should pare down football to 66. That's three full teams of offense and defense. Of those 19 available scholarships...give women's softball 6. (they only field teams of 18 so five would make them fully funded) and give baseball 13, for a total of 24.7 which is nearly fully funded.
However, a team can't qualify for that extra 13 if they don't themselves take the steps necessary to make their team a revenue generator. In other words, they should only grant more scholarships to the teams that invest more into their programs. That's why football gets so many scholarships...they generate revenue...baseball has to earn it...this isn't an entitlement...that would really tick the football guys off if baseball just got the scholarships without contributing to the revenue.
The model to follow here is what the SEC is doing. Since the SEC teams average over 6,000 a game and turn a profit for their programs, they would get the full 13 extra scholarships.
The thing is...most college athletic departments are lazy when it comes to helping make baseball a revenue generating sport. The exceptions of course are all of the teams in the SEC, and teams like Texas, Texas A&M, Baylor, Rice, Fl. State, UNC and others scattered around the southeast and Midwest. They realized the potential of college baseball and its draw and took advantage of the opportunities and are now reaping the benefits with record crowds and positive cash flows.
Ironically, the biggest disappointment lies where some of the best baseball is played...the west coast. More on that tomorrow. If those guys in the PAC 10, Big West, WAC (outside of Fresno State, they draw well) Mountain West (sans San Diego St) would invest in lights, marketing and media participation to increase attendance, I'd think you'd have an NCAA and advisory committee that would be more open to increasing baseball scholarships.
Right now, it's out of whack, because there are too many teams that treat baseball as a fifth wheel. I think that baseball would be better off if they weed out the fifth wheels that will never invest or even fully fund their programs and put them in a Division 1A. The teams in the southeast, southwest and west that recruit to win..as long as the invest to make money, should get the full benefit of increased scholarships. It would also make for better competition and a more exciting NCAA tournament.