Thursday, July 16, 2009
Baseball Needs More Scholarships
The NCAA's rules on baseball scholarships and academic progress are not fair, plain and simple.
First, let's tackle the academic inequities.
Collegiate baseball takes a lot of time from a student’s time in the classroom, yet no relief is usually given in terms of making sure the stress of 8 hours of school and studying along with 6 hours of baseball year round is manageable.
Baseball players must still take 15-17 credit hours in a semester based system…yet in reality, based on the time available, they should be taking only 12-13. Unfortunately, if a baseball player takes 12-13 credits a semester, he will be ineligible at many institutions before the start of his junior year because of the 40-60-80% progress towards degree rule.
Therefore, because baseball scholarships don't extend to the summer months, players have to find a way to schedule and pay for summer classes out of their own pocket to make up the difference. New NCAA rules now prohibit more mid-year certifications.
In addition, baseball players have to be eligible at the start of the academic year to play in the spring...I have no problem with a prior term eligibility rule, except the NCAA does not require this in basketball or football.
To make matters a bit more complicated, every summer, incoming sophomore and junior players get assigned to collegiate summer leagues. The Summer Leagues start a week or two after school is out and continues through the first of August. If a coach thinks a player has a chance to start the next year or has pro aspirations, he will assign him to the Cape Cod, Northwoods, Alaskan, California Collegiate or many of the other summer leagues to get more innings in. There’s no time for summer school unless they are allowed to take them on-line...and that depends on the school!!!
This is just one example that illustrates the demands on the collegiate baseball player. They are expected to play year round...56 games in the spring and 50 or more in the summer depending on the league. They have another 45 days of practice and scrimmages in the fall.
Do basketball players play over 100 games in a year? Do football players have a taxing schedule like this? The gridiron and court players get over 100 scholarships between them, yet are required to play half the games combined in a given year.
As America's Past Time...it's way "Past Time" that the collegiate sport get it's due. Dividing up 11.7 scholarships amongst 30 rostered players is the equivalent of a below minimum wage job, given the excessive time demands that baseball players are expected to accept.
I have mentioned in many posts that the NCAA needs to clear the way for 24 scholarships. It's really the only fair solution...besides...a mentor once told me, "If you don't aim high, you will never hit your target." Many schools are not aiming high enough. It has been suggested by many AD's and coaches that the NCAA increase the scholarships to 14. Are you kidding me? What good will that do? It's not a high enough number because the NCAA and it's "just Say No" negotiators will always end up back at 11.7.
Aiming at 24 scholarships will hopefully give us...the parents who foot all the bills, and the players who give up their lives to play the game they love, a bigger incentive and reward for all of the "way above the average" work load they put into the sport each and every year.