Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Letters to RT

RT Staff Note: We had a very well written comment to our last Friday post on writing the NCAA. While we agree with him in principal, we disagree when it comes to the issue of Title IX. Title IX was intended to even out the scholarships for men and women in their respective sports. However, football throws the whole formula out of whack and many potentially revenue generating sports like baseball suffer as a result. Baseball and women's softball both get around 11.7 scholarships. That number may seem like a fair distribution, but it is definitely not. Softball carries rosters of around 18 players, so their percentage of scholarships to players is 65%. A baseball team, at the present time has to offer scholarships to 30 rostered players, or a percentage of 39%. I know that this is not how the formula is factored in collegiate sports, but if baseball were to be equal...percentage wise to softball, the men should at least have 19.5 scholarships or 65% of their rosters.

Another point that must be addressed is how serious colleges are about funding college baseball programs. The reader is right...there are programs out there that don't even fully fund with 11.7 scholarships. Those programs must be disciplined and put on probation to fully fund or lose D-I eligibility status. This needs ot happen soon. Once all schools become fully compliant, then the member schools can talk about an increase. Here is the readers comments below.

Dear Rounding Third,
I appreciate your zeal to get scholarships increased. But you are directing your efforts in the wrong direction. Yes, the NCAA is part of the problem. But if change is going to come it will have to be initiated by the member institutions. They ARE the NCAA. Until you create a groundswell of support among the member colleges and universities the NCAA is not going to change anything.

As of right now the colleges and universities DO NOT support increasing scholarships. Yes, the coaches do. But, for all intents and purposes, they don't count. Most college presidents and adminstrations do not support increasing scholarships.

Why? Money. Don't forget that MANY colleges don't fund 11.7 scholarships now. If they don't have the money to fund 11.7 where will they get the money to fund 25 or 35? I'm sure there are also a number of schools that struggle to fund 11.7, let alone 20 or 25 or 35.

Increased scholarships would be a windfall to the top 20 or 30 programs that have plenty of money. It might help the next 20-30 schools a little. But it would have be of little or no benefit to the remaining 150 DI schools.

And don't forget Title IX. Increasing baseball scholarships might requite increasing scholarships in women's sports. And where would that money come from?

As the father of a DI player I would love to see scholarships increased. But the issue is far more complicated than most people realize. Casting the NCAA as the SOLE villain glosses a major part of the problem.

1 comment:

Terry Haselden said...

Just a few comments about today's post. First of all, I'm not sure what you are getting at with your comments regarding Title IX. The formulas and calculations you mention really are not a part of Title IX. I don't like the impact that Title IX has on baseball, but it is what it is.

I was not stating an opinion regarding the benefits or drawbacks of Title IX. My point was that it is an ever present issue when the topic is funding of college sports. If baseball scholarships were increased administrators would at least have to consider increasing scholarships for womens' sports. I am not saying they would have to increase womens' scholarships, because I don't think Title IX flat out requires that. But most administrators think that it does.

You state "baseball has to offer scholarships to 30 rostered players." First of all DI colleges do not have to offer baseball scholarhips at all if they don't want to. Starting this year they can give money to UP TO 27 (not 30) kids IF they want to. They do not have to give money to 27 kids, even if they fund the full 11.7 scholarships. If they give any money to a kid it must be AT LEAST 25%. They can give 11 full scholarships and one .7 scholarship if they want to.

I suspect that some fully funded schools fund fewer than 27 scholarships. Doing so allows them to throw a little extra money at their prize recruits.

Your suggestion that the NCAA should "discipline" schools that do not fund 11.7 scholarships could do more harm than good. You would probably see even more schools dropping baseball programs due to financial reasons.

I wish I could find some statistics showing exactly how many of the 300 DI schools are actually fully funded. My GUESS would be around half.