Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Staying Close To Home

As the economy continue to falter, more and more of the top College Development Programs are posting on their web sites and sending out e-mails to players and their families that their 2009 summer strategy is to stay a bit closer to home and battle it out with other local CDP's or play up in older age group tournaments to challenge their players.

Don't Play Rec Ball
In an economy like this, many families may forego the decision to play on a CDP team altogether and opt for their local Legion team. If your son is a player that has the aspirations of playing college ball, then he needs to be challenged at a higher level than the watered down recreational style of play that Legion offers.

Follow The Scouts
College recruiters are aware of the changes in travel plans by many of the top CDP's...and those scouts will follow them, not you and your son's decision to play lower level competition. The top CDP's talk, text or e-mail on a weekly basis with all of the college recruiters nationwide. It's their job and their reputation on the line. They care about their players and where they get placed. It's important to the CDP program that their games and local tournaments are teaming with college recruiters and pro scouts. It's also a scouts responsibility to get as much bang for their travel dollar as possible from each trip they take. These scouts know that programs like East Cobb, Norcal, Dallas Tigers, NE Ruffnecks and more are stacked with players that all have D-I potential and will play at that level. They are the the type of teams they will follow. They also know that these are the dedicated kids and parents that have stuck with these programs even in tough times. These are the players that want it the most and the type of players colleges desire. Part Time Legion Dad doesn't have the time, resources, relationship or the knowledge to do that for his players.

Fundraise, Payment Plans and Saving
Most clubs are now in the middle of major fundraising campaigns. This is important for the integrity of the the CDP. Get involved...raise money...and get a benefactor to donate soda, water, seeds, dogs and candy and set up concessions to continue to raise money throughout the season. Ask for a monthly payment plan. A 12 month plan of $150 a month will pay for 90% of all CDP fees in America this year. But don't give up. CDP's are important for the development of your son.

Monday, March 30, 2009

A Camp That's At The Head Of The Class

RT Staff Note: Headfirst Baseball Camps runs the nation’s finest academic showcase camps. Folks, this is a truly great service to the real STUDENT athlete...Coaches representing the nation's most prestigious colleges and universities evaluate and instruct players. Attending players have a chance to develop their game while gaining valuable college exposure. In 2009, they will celebrate their 10th year of the Honor Roll Camp. Lsat year, their Honor Roll Camps hosted 750 ballplayers from across the United States and close to 150 college coaches. These programs are can’t miss events for high performing baseball student athletes. Here's a story that ran in the New York Times a few years ago.

Copyright 2005 The New York Times
The players, a jumpy group of 16-17 year-old boys from around the country, arrived at the Headfirst Baseball Honor Roll Camp last month in Richmond, Va., with statistics that stood out. It was not just their batting averages. These were players who scored, on average, 1,300 out of a possible 1,600 on the two-part College Board exam.

Most of the 165 players were A-minus students, and all wore identical white T-shirts, with only numbers stenciled on their backs to tell them apart.

The campers tolerated the cattle-call atmosphere at the Virginia Sports Complex just north of Richmond because of the potential payoff: 30 college coaches, many representing elite liberal arts colleges and Ivy League universities, were scouting players. Among them was Dave Beccaria of Haverford College, a small liberal arts college outside Philadelphia that is one of the most selective in the country and which has agreed to give The New York times access to its recruiting process through the academic year.

Beccaria has been in touch with more than 1,000 high school players since the beginning of the year, most of them juniors when the process started. He initiated contact with many, but others sent e-mail messages to him, some sent professionally made videos showing them in action and a few hired recruiting services to promote them. Almost all joined the summer-long tour of showcase camps like the one in Virginia.

By the time the recruiting cycle is complete, Beccaria figures six to eight of those players will join his team at Haverford, a college that competes in Division III, requires Ivy League-caliber academic scores and does not offer athletic scholarships.

As the competition for admission to highly rated colleges like Haverford continues to escalate, the playing fields of America are becoming an even bigger part of that process. High school students and their parents are looking for any edge, and an athletic résumé is seen as the extra ingredient that can get a student’s name on the precious list that the athletic department gives to its admissions office each year.

That list can include as few as a dozen names in one sport, with perhaps half expected to be admitted, although there are no guarantees. Still, with select institutions routinely rejecting 7 of 10 applicants overall, parents and their children relish the odds given “listed” athletes.

For coaches, the key is deciding whose names to write on the list. Haverford is typical of the top-tier liberal arts colleges, academically and athletically. The college ranked eighth in the liberal arts category of the most recent U.S. News and World Report rankings; nearly 40 percent of students play a varsity sport; and its athletic director, Greg Kannerstein, said that athletics played some role in the admission of about 15 percent of each recent incoming class.

“Years ago, I would go to lunch with someone from admissions with a bunch of names on the back of an envelope,” said Kannerstein, who has been at Haverford for 30 years and served as acting dean of admissions last year. “We would look at a few applicants’ folders and pretty soon we’d have a team. It’s a different world now.”

Prospecting Via E-Mail
Flipping through a binder prepared for coaches at the Headfirst Honor Roll Camp - the 18th recruiting event Beccaria visited this summer - he examined the grades and test scores of each player. He immediately crossed off about 120 players, or 70 percent, saying that their test scores or grades were too low. For the next two days, with a roster that matched names to T-shirt numbers, Beccaria followed the progress of the other 45 players, paying careful attention to the 8 to 10 he had seen at previous showcases.

Some of these players Beccaria had known of for more than a year because they had sent e-mail messages to him as juniors in high school. It is a common practice that many coaches appreciate.

“You want someone to show the initiative,” Beccaria said. Or, as Georgetown University’s baseball coach, Pete Wilk, said in an address to parents and campers at the close of the Headfirst camp: “Parents, I’m pretty sure your college eligibility is over. So let me hear from your son; he’s the one who might play for me.”

Beccaria’s e-mail messages from potential applicants often included a schedule of the showcases the player planned to attend. This is important information because Beccaria and his coaching colleagues rarely scout individual high school games. The image of a weary, grizzled coach driving from one dusty high school ballpark to another is a nostalgic artifact.

At the dozens of highly orchestrated showcases around the country, coaches can see 150 to 200 players in a day and analyze them in an environment that resembles a professional audition. The players perform hours of skill drills: fielding dozens of ground balls, throwing to every base, catching, hitting, running and playing simulated games.

Another relic of college recruiting’s past is the significance of a high school player’s senior season. Beccaria and the other Haverford teams’ coaches complete their serious evaluations by the summer after a player’s junior season. This year, most of the Haverford coaches had identified their top 20 players by Aug. 15. With the push to get applications in for early decision on Nov. 15, or by the regular decision deadline of Jan. 15, an athlete’s senior season can be almost irrelevant.

When Beccaria, who let Haverford to 25 victories last season and to its first victory in the postseason, watched prospects this summer, he was continually winnowing his list. But he knew he did not need to make it too short. Coaches from other colleges would do that for him. Even at the small-college level, it is hard to hide a prospect, and the most promising are often looking at Ivy League universities and other elite colleges that offer grants as enticements.

At the Headfirst camp, there was a moment in a simulated game when one of the players Beccaria was interested in, sidearm pitcher Clay Bartlett of Washington, was facing another Beccaria prospect, outfielder Ben Sestanovich, also of Washington. It figured to be a good match up because Sestanovich laced a crisp single in an earlier at-bat against another pitcher.

Beccaria leaned forward in his chair as the at-bat began, aiming a radar gun in his left hand. Aligned in rows of chairs alongside Beccaria, seated like juniors, were 11 other coaches.

When Bartlett struck out Sestanovich with a hard, tailing slider on the outside corner to finish two scoreless innings of relief pitching, Beccaria was impressed, though he made sure he did nothing to show it. Without looking, he also knew that the coaches to his left and right, including those from Columbia and Cornell of the Division I Ivy League, were busy taking notes on Bartlett’s unusual delivery and commanding presence.

Beccaria stood and, with a wry smile, walked to another field to watch another player. He would keep Bartlett and Sestanovich on his list.

“There’s along way to go,” he said.

Friday, March 27, 2009

What's the difference between Divisions I, II and III?

Division I
Division I member institutions have to sponsor at least seven sports for men and seven for women (or six for men and eight for women) with two team sports for each gender. Each playing season has to be represented by each gender as well. There are contest and participant minimums for each sport, as well as scheduling criteria.

For sports other than football and basketball, Division I schools must play 100 percent of the minimum number of contests against Division I opponents -- anything over the minimum number of games has to be 50 percent Division I. Men's and women's basketball teams have to play all but two games against Division I teams; for men, they must play one-third of all their contests in the home arena. Schools that have football are classified as Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly Division I-A) or NCAA Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division I-AA).

Football Bowl Subdivision schools are usually fairly elaborate programs. Football Bowl Subdivision teams have to meet minimum attendance requirements (average 15,000 people in actual or paid attendance per home game), which must be met once in a rolling two-year period. NCAA Football Championship Subdivision teams do not need to meet minimum attendance requirements. Division I schools must meet minimum financial aid awards for their athletics program, and there are maximum financial aid awards for each sport that a Division I school cannot exceed.

Division II
Division II institutions have to sponsor at least five sports for men and five for women, (or four for men and six for women), with two team sports for each gender, and each playing season represented by each gender. There are contest and participant minimums for each sport, as well as scheduling criteria -- football and men's and women's basketball teams must play at least 50 percent of their games against Division II or Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly Division I-A) or Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division I-AA) opponents. For sports other than football and basketball there are no scheduling requirements.

There are not attendance requirements for football, or arena game requirements for basketball. There are maximum financial aid awards for each sport that a Division II school must not exceed. Division II teams usually feature a number of local or in-state student-athletes. Many Division II student-athletes pay for school through a combination of scholarship money, grants, student loans and employment earnings. Division II athletics programs are financed in the institution's budget like other academic departments on campus. Traditional rivalries with regional institutions dominate schedules of many Division II athletics programs.

Division III
Division III institutions have to sponsor at least five sports for men and five for women, with two team sports for each gender, and each playing season represented by each gender. There are minimum contest and participant minimums for each sport. Division III athletics features student-athletes who receive no financial aid related to their athletic ability and athletic departments are staffed and funded like any other department in the university. Division III athletics departments place special importance on the impact of athletics on the participants rather than on the spectators. The student-athlete's experience is of paramount concern. Division III athletics encourages participation by maximizing the number and variety of athletics opportunities available to students, placing primary emphasis on regional in-season and conference competition.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Reform’s inroads evident with APR release

By Michelle Brutlag Hosick
The NCAA News

The NCAA’s Academic Performance Program (APP) is creating positive behavioral change among Division I institutions, according to new four-year data released May 6.

The multi-year Academic Progress Rate (APR) data – with four years of data collection available for the first time – show upward trends in several categories, especially from 2005-06 to 2006-07. The overall APR, which measures student-athlete performance based on eligibility and retention, rose slightly, with increases in both eligibility and retention and a decrease in the number of student-athletes leaving school while academically ineligible.

The academic reform effort – and the APP in particular - was created to change the academic landscape of Division I athletics and not to be punitive. However, penalties are assessed for failing to meet the benchmark that projects to approximately 60 percent Graduation Success Rate and being unable to demonstrate measurable improvement in the APR.

Fewer teams are receiving penalties than anticipated, with 218 teams from 123 institutions falling below established benchmarks. Of the 218 teams, 113 will receive immediate penalties, while 35 will receive both an immediate penalty and a public warning for historically low performance. An additional 44 teams will receive the public warning only while 26 will face a historically based penalty restricting scholarships, recruiting and practice times.

Of the 218 penalized teams, six received conditional waivers from penalties last year, failed to meet the conditions and are penalized this year. Four of those six teams are receiving penalties for last year and this year. These teams are noted on the penalty list with an asterisk.

At one time, officials believed a much larger number of teams could be penalized this year because of the elimination of the squad size adjustment for most teams. The adjustment was in place until teams accumulated a full four years of APR data. Because of numerous factors, including mitigating circumstances and an emphasis on improvement in the waiver process, only about 3.5 percent of 6,272 teams will receive penalties. Last year, about 2 percent of teams were penalized. To see complete penalty information, click here.

NCAA President Myles Brand emphasized that the penalties were designed to change behavior and not intended to be punitive.

“We want to change the behaviors of the teams and the institutions and the athletic program so we’re all headed toward the success of student-athletes on the field and in the classroom,” Brand said.

Overall, the Division I single-year APR has risen nearly four points since data collection began. Several sports have seen increases as well. Since 2003-04, for example, baseball’s APR increased 12 points and football went up nearly 11 points.
Men’s basketball, though, has remained steady over the four year period at approximately 928 APR. After a recent drop in the sport’s APR, men’s basketball teams rebounded, improving by about four points from the 2005-06 data collection year. An NCAA panel has been assigned to address academic issues in men’s basketball and is expected to complete its work by October.

“Overall, there is much to be encouraged about with the latest data,” Brand said. “When we started four years ago, baseball and football were in serious trouble. There has been great improvement in both of those sports. We are not out of the woods, however. There are individual institutions that have seen steady decline in APR over the last four years. The situation is dire for them.”

For the first time, the average eligibility and retention rates both showed increases as well. Eligibility rates, after decreasing for the past two years since the implementation of new progress-toward-degree standards, saw the first increase since data collection began in 2003-04. The average eligibility rate for 2006-07 is 967.1, up from 965.0 in 2003-04. The average retention rate has increased steadily over the first four years of data collection, beginning at 953.6 in 2003-04 and showing a 956.7 in the most recent collection year.

Another positive trend revealed by the data is a continual decrease in the number of student-athletes earning neither the eligibility or retention points (the so-called “0-for-2”) each year. In 2003-04, 3.7 percent of the cohort earned neither point.

That percentage has steadily declined, and it is now at 2.9 percent for the 2006-07 collection year. There are almost 700 fewer 0-for-2s this year than there were four years ago.

Officials attributed the improvement in APR and reduction in penalized teams to a number of factors, including the improvement plan process, which requires any institution with a team below 925 to develop a plan for improving the academic performance of student-athletes with specific goals and steps to meet them. In the first year for the improvement plan process, 157 schools submitted acceptable plans to the national office.

Institutions that do not meet the goals set forth in their improvement plans will be subject to penalties next year.

Additionally, since the reform structure was implemented four years ago, more than 4,000 student-athletes have earned a graduation bonus point for their institution by returning to their school to graduate after leaving early. While not all returned because of the bonus-point incentive, almost twice as many former student-athletes came back to earn their degree in the most recent year than in the first year of the APR program. This is another intended outcome of academic reform.

Mitigating factors, such as granting relief for teams that demonstrate measurable improvement and other criteria, also helped APRs to rise and penalties to fall.

Earlier this year, the Division I Board of Directors reiterated its commitment to academic reform in the form of a resolution, and members will continue to hold a high academic standard for all Division I student-athletes.

To discuss the APR results, visit the Double-A Zone, the official blog of the NCAA

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Amateurism Certification Process Frequently Asked Questions

Amateurism Certification Process Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to register with the NCAA Eligibility Center?
Yes. If you want to compete in NCAA Division I or II athletics in your first year of college, you must register with the Eligibility Center and be certified academically and as an amateur.

When should I register with the Eligibility Center?
Register for the Eligibility Center at the beginning of your junior year in high school. The athletics participation section should be updated regularly so that institutions recruiting you will have up-to- date information about you. Be sure to ask your high school guidance counselor to send your high school transcript to the Eligibility Center after you have completed at least six semesters of high school coursework.

Is there a registration deadline?
No. However, you must be certified both academically and as an amateur before you are eligible to compete at an NCAA Division I or II institution during your first year of enrollment.

Is the registration form available in languages other than in English?
At this time, it is only available in English since that is the primary language needed to complete academic work at American colleges and universities.

What is the cost of the registration fee?
The registration fee is $60 for domestic college-bound student-athletes and $85 for international college-bound student-athletes. There is only one fee to register for the Eligibility Center, which covers both the academic and amateurism certifications. In addition, there is no reduction of the fee if the college-bound student-athlete does not need an academic certification (e.g., has already served an academic year in residence at a collegiate institution).

May I receive a fee waiver?
Yes, you are eligible for a waiver of the initial-eligibility certification fee if you have already received a fee waiver (not a state voucher) for the ACT or SAT. If you have not been granted a fee waiver by ACT or SAT, then you will NOT be eligible for a waiver of the certification fee. If you are seeking a waiver of the certification fee, you should confirm your eligibility with your high school guidance counselor. Your high school guidance counselor MUST submit an electronic fee waiver confirmation before your registration may be processed.

Who can help me complete the amateurism registration process?
Anyone can assist you in completing the process. However, when you have completed the registration process, YOU will be the only person allowed to submit the information to the Eligibility Center.

If I complete the registration process but don't attend a Division I or II institution immediately following high school, do I need to complete the registration process again if I want to attend a Division I or II institution later? Before being certified for a Division I or II institution, you will be required to update the information you provided for the amateurism questions. You will not be charged a registration fee to update your file.

Do transfer student-athletes also have to register with the Eligibility Center?
Every college-bound student-athlete who is attending an NCAA Division I or II institution full time for the first time must be certified by the Eligibility Center.

If I am transferring from a junior college to either a Division I or II institution and all I need is my amateur certification, do I need to pay the full amount to register?
Yes, the fee is a flat rate: $60 for domestic college-bound student-athletes and $85 for international college-bound student-athletes.

If I am transferring from a junior college to either a Division I or II institution, do I have to receive an academic and an amateurism certification?
You will definitely need to receive an amateurism certification. However, you may not need an academic certification. The institution that is recruiting you will be able to advise you on this matter based on your specific academic record.

What if I enroll in an NCAA Division I or II institution and decide to participate in a sport other than one of the three I had listed on the amateurism certification registration form?
If you decide to participate in a sport other than one listed on the registration form, the Eligibility Center will need to be contacted so you can add this sport and be certified under the amateurism certification process.

Will a paper copy of the amateurism form be available?
No, the registration form will only be available on the Eligibility Center Web site and must be completed online.

If I have been participating in events related to my sport for a significant period of time, what events do I need to list on the amateurism registration form?
You should include all events in which you participated, beginning with the ninth grade and thereafter.

Once I complete the amateurism questions, how long will it take to find out if I am certified as an amateur?
After you complete all of the questions, the length of time it will take for you to receive your "preliminary status report" will depend on the answers you provided.

Can I receive different amateurism certifications for Divisions I and II?
Yes. Divisions I and II have different rules, so it is possible that your certification status may be different for each division.

How often can I update my information?
You can update your information as often as you need until you request a final certification of your amateurism status. At that point, you will no longer be able to update your amateurism information.

When can I request final amateurism certification?
Beginning April 1 for fall enrollees and beginning October 1 for spring/winter enrollees.

How do I request final amateurism certification?
1. Log in to your account at www.ncaaclearinghouse.net;
2. From the menu options, select “Enter/Update Amateurism Questionnaire";
3. Enter or verify the accuracy of your answers;
4. After you have correctly and honestly answered all questions, scroll to the end of the page and click the “Final Authorization Signature” button. Enter the information requested, read the statement and click “Submit” to request final certification;
5. After you have completed these steps, your request for final amateurism certification has been made and no further changes to your questionnaire can be made; and
6. Before logging out of your account, make sure your e-mail and other personal information is current should the Eligibility Center staff need to contact you for additional information.

Who will be certified?
Every college-bound student-athlete, both domestic and international, who is attending an NCAA Division I or II institution for the first time, must be certified by the Eligibility Center. This includes college-bound student-athletes who are transferring from any two- or four-year institutions (including international institutions) that are not members of NCAA Division I or II. Thus, if an individual wants to participate in athletics at an NCAA Division I or II institution, the college-bound student-athlete must register with the Eligibility Center and submit the appropriate documentation to receive a certification decision.

Am I automatically ineligible if I violated the amateurism rules?
No. The Eligibility Center will review your athletics participation history. If there are violations of NCAA amateurism rules, the Eligibility Center may certify you with conditions, which must be fulfilled before you are eligible for competition. The conditions will be set based on which rule was violated and the severity of the violation. Such conditions may include repayment of money or sitting out of competition for a specified number of games, or both. In some cases,
the Eligibility Center may determine that the violations are such that permanent ineligibility for competition is the appropriate penalty.

Can I appeal a certification decision regarding my amateur status?
Yes. The NCAA has an appeals process in place if you choose to appeal the certification decision. You will need to work with an NCAA institution since all appeals must be filed by a member institution.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Eligibility...Part 2

RT Staff Note. The following quaestions afre from the NCAA Eligibility Web Site. Many of you juniors that have verballed or will commit this summer, need to adhere to these guidelines and make sure that your high school courses are in line with college eligibility. Now is the time to take the time to check your status.

For students already registered with the eligibility center.

Hot Topics
Test score rule: Test scores must be reported to the eligibility center directly from ACT or SAT.

High school core-course list:
Is yours up to date? Verify the classes you are taking and/or scheduled to take appear on your high school's approved core-course list.

Amateurism questionnaire and final authorization signature: Remember to log back in to your account and finalize your amateurism questionnaire before you enroll in college. If you are beginning school in the fall semester (August), you will need to complete the amateurism questionnaire and sign the final authorization signature on or after April 1 prior to enrollment. If you are beginning school in the spring semester (January), you will need to complete the amateurism questionnaire and sign the final authorization signature on or after October 1 of the year prior to enrollment.

What Do I Need To Do?
Grade 9
Verify with your high school guidance counselor and the online core-course listing to make sure you are on track.

Grade 10
Verify with your high school guidance counselor and the online core-course listing to make sure you are on track.

Grade 11
Register with the eligibility center.
Make sure you are still on course to meet core-course requirements (verify you have the correct number of core courses and that the core courses are on your high school's 48-H with the eligibility center).

After your junior year, have your high school guidance counselor send a copy of your transcript. If you have attended any other high schools, make sure a transcript is sent to the eligibility center from each high school.

When taking the ACT or SAT, request test scores to be sent to the eligibility center (the code is "9999").

Begin your amateurism questionnaire.

Grade 12
When taking the ACT or SAT, request test scores to be sent to the eligibility center (the code is "9999").

Complete amateurism questionnaire and sign the final authorization signature online on or after April 1 if you are expecting to enroll in college in the fall semester. (If you are expecting to enroll for spring semester, sign the final authorization signature on or after October 1 of the year prior to enrollment.)

Have your high school guidance counselor send a final transcript with proof of graduation to the eligibility center.

Home School Information
Use high school code "969999" as the high school code for any home school coursework.

This information is for those who have attended a home school or nontraditional school for either all or part of their high school career. In order to evaluate your certification status for purposes of NCAA athletics initial eligibility, please submit the following information to the Eligibility Center:

Completed student release form.
Fee payment.
Standardized test score (ACT and/or SAT). Must be submitted directly from the testing agency. Note that test scores received on a transcript cannot be used by the Eligibility Center. A Student Score Report or scores taken directly from a Student Score Report cannot be accepted by the Eligibility Center for initial-eligibility purposes.

Home school transcript that includes:
Course titles;
Course grades;
Units of credit for courses;
Grading scale ( if numeric grading is used, alpha/letter equivalent grades are needed);
Signature of the home school administrator (the parent or other person who organized, taught and evaluated the home school coursework).
Transcript from any other high school, college and/or nontraditional program attended (mailed directly from the issuing institution).
Proof of high school graduation, including specific graduation date (month/day/year).
Evidence that home schooling was conducted in accordance with state laws (a written statement from the home school administrator verifying compliance with state home school legislation). Please attach any supporting documentation.
A statement of who taught and evaluated the coursework, awarded grades and issued credit.

List of textbooks used throughout home schooling [course title, textbook title, publisher name and book level (if applicable)].
There are some examples listed below for reference including a home school checklist, transcript example and textbook list. This will help provide guidance on what the Eligibility Center needs regarding home school information.

If your home school coursework was taken through an established nontraditional program (e.g., correspondence, internet, tutoring, etc.) that evaluated your coursework and issues transcripts, please have that program provide a copy of your transcript and provide contact information so the Eligibility Center can obtain further information, if necessary.

The Eligibility Center will evaluate home school coursework only after all required documents have been received. After the information listed above is received, the Eligibility Center may need to request additional information or clarification before completing an academic certification.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Eligibility Questions

RT Staff Note. The following quaestions afre from the NCAA Eligibility Web Site. Many of you juniors that have verballed or will commit this summer, need to adhere to these guidelines and make sure that your high school courses are in line with college eligibility. Now is the time to take the time to check your status.

Academic Eligibility

Frequently Asked Questions
When should a student register with the NCAA Eligibility Center?
Students should register with the Eligibility Center at the beginning of their junior year in high school. At the end of the student's junior year, a transcript, which includes six semesters of grades, should be sent to the Eligibility Center from the high school. Additionally, students should have their SAT or ACT scores forwarded directly to the Eligibility Center (by using code "9999") whenever they take the exam.

What requirements do I need to be able to practice, play and get a scholarship at an NCAA Division I or II college or university?
You need to complete the following:
1. Graduate from high school.
2. Complete a minimum of 16 (for Division I) or 14 (for Division II) core courses;
3. Present the required grade-point average (GPA) (see the sliding scale in the Guide for the College-Bound Student-Athlete for Division I or a minimum 2.0 GPA for Division II)
4. Present a qualifying test score on either the ACT or SAT (see the sliding scale in the Guide for the College-Bound Student-Athlete); and
5. Complete the amateurism questionnaire and request final amateurism certification.

How do I know if the courses I am taking will count as core courses?
You need to look at your high school's NCAA List of Approved Core Courses. Follow these steps:
1. Go to the NCAA Eligibility Center Web site at www.ncaaclearinghouse.net;
2. Click on "General Information";
3. Click on "List of Approved Core Courses";
4. Input your high school's CEEB code (if you know it) or search by your high school's name and state; and
5. Review the list.
*Very important: If a core course you took is not on the list, it will not be used in your eligibility determination. Courses that appear on your transcript must exactly match what is on the list.

What do I do if a core course I took is not on the list?
See your high school counselor immediately. Someone at your high school is responsible for keeping your high school's list updated. It is important your high school does this each year to make sure the core courses you are taking appear on the list.
What is the lowest grade that will be used for a course to count as a core course?
Follow your high school's policy regarding its lowest passing grade. If the Eligibility Center does not have this policy, the lowest passing grade that will be used is D.

Will credit-by-exam courses meet core-course requirements?
No. Courses completed through credit-by-exam will not be used.

Are vocational courses acceptable?
No. Traditional vocational courses (e.g., typing, auto mechanics, driver's education and health) are not acceptable.

Do pass/fail grades count?
Yes, these grades may satisfy your core-course requirements. The Eligibility Center will assign your high school's lowest passing grade for a pass/fail class.

May courses taken in the eighth grade that are high school core courses (e.g., Algebra I, Spanish 1, Freshman Composition) be used to meet the core-course requirement?
A high school course taken in the eighth grade may be used if the course is on the high school transcript with a grade and credit and if the course is on the high school's NCAA List of Approved Core Courses.

May independent-study, Internet and correspondence courses count as core courses?
Yes, if the following four conditions are met:
1. The course meets core-course requirements;
2. You and the instructor have access to each other during the course so that the instructor can teach, evaluate and provide assistance to you;
3. Appropriate academic authorities evaluate your work according to the high school's academic policies; and
4. The course is acceptable for any student to take and is placed on your high school transcript.

May college courses count as core courses?
College courses may be used to satisfy core-curriculum requirements if the courses are accepted and awarded credit by the high school for any student and meet all other requirements for core courses. For NCAA Division I only, such courses must be placed on the student's high school transcript. Courses taken at a college will NOT appear on the high school's NCAA List of Approved Core Courses. The high school's NCAA List of Approved Core Courses will include only those courses taught/offered by the high school.

How are courses taken over two years counted?
A one-year course that is spread over a longer period of time is considered one course and will receive a maximum of one core-course credit. (Example: Algebra 1, spread over two years, would receive one unit of credit.)

May my study in a foreign country help me meet core-course requirements?
If you attended a secondary school outside the United States for all or part of grades nine through 12, different evaluation procedures will be applied to your international education documents. You must submit original-language documents with certified translations for Eligibility Center evaluation.

How is my core-course GPA calculated?
Your core-course GPA is the average of your best grades achieved for all required core courses. If you have taken extra core courses, those courses will be used in your GPA, only if they improve your GPA.

Can weighted grades for honors or advanced-placement courses be factored into the calculation of the student's core GPA?
A school's normal practice of weighting honors or advanced courses may be used, as long as the weighting is used for computing GPAs. Weighting cannot be used if the high school weights grades for the purpose of determining class rank. Additionally, in no instance may the student receive greater than 1.000 additional quality points for purposes of calculating the GPA for initial eligibility.

How is the NCAA core GPA different from a student's overall GPA?
The NCAA core-course GPA is calculated using only NCAA-approved core courses in the required number of core units. High school GPAs generally include the grades from most or all courses attempted in grades nine through 12.

Will courses taken after my senior year meet core-course requirements?
For Division I, maybe. Only courses completed in grades nine through 12 will qualify as core courses for Division I. If you graduate from high school on schedule (in eight semesters) with your incoming ninth grade class, you may use one core course completed in the year after graduation (summer or academic year). You may complete the core course at a location other than the high school from which you graduated and may initially enroll full time at a collegiate institution at any time after completion of the core course. For Division II, yes. All core courses completed before your full-time enrollment at any college may be used by the Eligibility Center. For Division I students with diagnosed disabilities, yes. If you have a properly diagnosed and documented disability, you may use one or more core courses completed after high school but before full-time enrollment in college.

How does the NCAA treat courses similar in content?
Some approved core courses might be considered duplicates. That is, the content of one course is the same as that of another, even though the classes might have different titles. If you have taken two classes considered to be duplicates, you will receive only one core-course credit (typically for the course with the higher grade). Please ask your high school counselor if you have questions about duplicate courses.

May courses taken at high school "A" be accepted if they appear on high school "B's" transcript?
No. High school "A" may provide the Eligibility Center with an official copy of high school "B's" transcript, but grades from one high school cannot be accepted on another high school's transcript.

Does the prohibition against special education, remedial or compensatory courses apply to students with education-impacted disabilities?
No. In order for courses designated for students with education-impacted disabilities to be approved, the course must be substantially comparable, qualitatively and quantitatively, as a regular core course offered in that academic area.

Can students with a diagnosed education-impacted disability use courses that are designated for students with an education-impacted disability to meet NCAA core-course requirements?
Students with appropriately diagnosed education-impacted disabilities may use courses for students with education-impacted disabilities for the purpose of meeting NCAA core-course requirements. Courses for students with education-impacted disabilities must appear on the high school's NCAA List of Approved Core Courses in order for a student to receive NCAA credit for the course.

May a nonstandard ACT/SAT exam be used for initial eligibility?
Yes. Students with diagnosed education-impacted disabilities may take a nonstandard ACT or SAT exam. The test score must be provided to the Eligibility Center from the testing agency, just as any other test score. How are students prioritized for processing at the Eligibility Center? Students who have their status requested by an NCAA institution are prioritized by the Eligibility Center for processing. If a student's eligibility status is never requested by a member institution, the Eligibility Center may not process such a student's status.

*If you have additional questions or need further assistance, please contact the Eligibility Center's customer service staff at 877/262-1492.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Baseball Heaven...Mid-Atlantic

RT Staff Note: This is the final in our series on baseball heaven. Today we scoured the Mid Atlantic region for some of the best places to play colegiate ball. Actually, in our opinion, there isn't a place in this country that's a bad place...they are all good. We're just having some fun with some of our nations finest. If your son is playing collegiate baseball, then he is in baseball heaven...no matter where it is located.

North Carolina

Cary C. Boshamer Stadium provides the Carolina baseball program one of the most beautiful home facilities in the nation.

Boshamer Stadium was a gift from 1917 Carolina graduate and textile industrialist Cary C. Boshamer of Gastonia, N.C. The Tar Heels have been playing at the current location since the late 1960s when Emerson Field was razed due to University expansion.

The Tar Heels have hosted 758 games at Boshamer Stadium and have a record of 568-188-2 (.751), including a 27-3 mark last year. Boshamer has been home to five Atlantic Coast Conference Tournaments, in 1973, 1975, 1981, 1982 and 1983, and the 1983 NCAA East Regional.

Carolina hosted the New York Yankees in exhibition games in 1977, 1979 and 1981 and Boshamer also played host to the 1987 U.S. Olympic Festival.

For five straight years, from 1989 through 1993, the Carolina Invitational brought some of the nation's finest programs to do battle with ACC competition just prior to the NCAA Tournament. In 1989, ESPN was on hand to televise two games live from Boshamer. That year, North Carolina upended No. 1-ranked Arizona 5-3 in 10 innings.

The stadium houses the Carolina baseball offices, team room, training room and dressing rooms. Tar Heel players take advantage of a private weight training and conditioning area which supplements the equipment found at the 8,000 square foot workout room at the Student-Athlete Development Center located at Kenan Stadium. Boshamer also has indoor pitching and hitting areas and outdoor cages which allow off the field work in all weather conditions.

Over the past several years, Boshamer Stadium has undergone a number of exciting renovations to keep it one of America's finest college baseball facilities. Among those things new to the stadium in 2000 are expanded dugouts, new awnings over the press box and office space, new field tarp and roller, new fencing and a new training room for the Tar Heels.

The University of North Carolina is fortunate to call home one of the finest all-around facilities in the nation. Boshamer has it all -- outstanding playing conditions maintained by a dedicated and knowledgeable grounds crew, excellent lighting, close to the field seating and purposeful training and relaxation environments for Carolina's players and coaches.

South Carolina

The University of South Carolina baseball program unveiled its new baseball facility Feb. 21, 2009. The $35-plus million Carolina Stadium has a capacity of 9,000 fans and is the crown jewel among baseball stadiums across the nations.

According to Ryan E. Sickman with HOK Sport Company, the firm responsible for designing Carolina Stadium, "I personally have taken great pride in giving the Gamecocks, what is no doubt in my mind, the best collegiate only baseball park in the nation. It is our hope that Carolina Stadium becomes the standard of what to expect from a premier Division I baseball program, and a class act athletics program like the University of South Carolina."

Baseball Stadium Facts
• Approximately 6,400 permanent chair-back seats with total capacity of 9,000-plus fans.
• Picnic Terrace down the left field line - Dining deck will hold approximately 120 fans.
• Suite & Club Level premium seating available - (5 suites and 2 clubs).
• ADA accessibility for handicap and wheelchair patrons.
• Larger concession stand menu with satellite portable setups on the Plaza and concourses.
• Cup holders at each permanent seat.
• State-of-the-art video scoreboard and sound system from Daktronics The top of the scoreboard is 86 feet above the field. The scoreboard measures 47 feet high x 44 feet wide. The video portion is 16 feet high x 28 feet wide.
• A wide concourse that runs completely around the stadium.
• TV-ready for live television coverage including six camera locations for television and video streaming.
• A first-class lighting system by Musco with 125-foot candles in the infield and 100-foot candles in the outfield.
• Sand-based field meeting USGA specs/draining system with 419 Bermuda Turf Grass.
• Field Dimensions - 325 down the lines, 390 to center field. Walls in the outfield vary from 8 to 10 feet in height. Batter's eye is 80 feet wide and stretches 40 feet above the field.
• Press Box with wireless internet capability and four TV/radio booths.

Additional Features for the Baseball Team
• 3,900 square-foot Weight Room
• (4) Indoor Batting Tunnels
• Home Team Locker Room
• Sports Medicine/Athletic Training Room
• Classroom/Media Room adjacent to Locker Room
• Coaches Offices


Doug Kingsmore Stadium, the home of Tiger baseball since 1970, has seen many changes and improvements over the years, but it has not lost its aesthetic beauty and unique feel on the west side of the Clemson University campus.

Doug Kingsmore Stadium has seen steady improvement since its first season in 1970, and is now one of the top facilities in the country. Just ask people at Baseball America, who released a coaches’ ranking that named Doug Kingsmore Stadium one of the best college facilities in the nation in 2003. And that ranking was done before any of the recent renovations were finished. Evidence of its rating among facilities across the nation has been demonstrated in recent years, when Doug Kingsmore Stadium was named as a site for a 1994, 1995, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2005, and 2006 NCAA Regional.

And during the 2002 and 2003 offseasons, Doug Kingsmore Stadium underwent radical renovations. Over $5 million was spent to make the facility among the best in the nation.

There is a patio area outside the press box that is above the existing stands along the first and third-base lines. It is used for receptions and other events throughout the year.

The players also realize improvements, as four batting cages have been constructed beyond the right-field fence. The dugouts have been almost doubled in length and width. And the players have a newly-renovated locker room and lounge.

Prior to 2005, PawVision, the replay screen that was used in the football stadium, was moved to Doug Kingsmore Stadium. Prior to the 2008 season, new lights were also installed.

The facility is also equipped with a “Super-Sopper,” which cuts down on rainouts. Clemson is one of a few schools with this machine that removes water from the field.
The stadium has 3,500 permanent seats, but it is capable of holding 6,217 fans thanks to a hill area down the left-field line that is popular with the Clemson student-body. In 2001, the ballpark shrank its dimensions. The fences are now 320 feet down the left-field line, 370 feet in left-center, 400 feet to straight-away center, 375 feet in the right-center alley, and 330 feet down the right-field line.


The Tennessee baseball program embarked on a new era in 1993 as the gates opened to the newly-built Lindsey Nelson Stadium for the first time on Feb. 23 of that year.
The $2.2 million facility gave UT one of the finest collegiate ballparks in the nation.

The main grandstand area in the stadium has a permanent seating capacity of 2,300, which includes 696 chairback seats and 1,604 bench seats. In 2003, a state-of-the-art scoreboard was installed with a video screen. Permanent grandstands, along with another fully-stocked concession stand are located down the right-field line. New left-field bleachers expanded capacity to 3,712 in 2006.

Among the features are a state-of-the-art press box which includes radio booths for both home and visitor, a television broadcast booth, an operations room and a hospitality area.

On the field, both the Vols and the visiting team benefit from spacious dugouts. The space beneath the seating area was renovated in 1994. It includes a spacious locker room for the Vols players and a locker room for the coaching staff. Also featured is an equipment room, a training room, a video room, a traditions room, a hitting tunnel, a mound and a team lounge area which has a flat-screen TV, pool table and ping-pong table.

Fans to UT baseball games benefit from elevated seating, which affords a clear view of the playing field from any angle. Spacious restrooms as well as a large concession area also help create an ideal atmosphere for fans.

Provided with excellent conditions in which to enjoy the games, Vols fans come out by the thousands each weekend as witnessed by the fact that Tennessee drew 81,801 spectators and ranked ninth nationally in 1995 after drawing 58,300 in 1994 and 44,704 in 1993. In 1997, a record average of 2,137 fans saw the Volunteers play, for a total of 64,107, the largest regular-season total ever.

To top it all off, Lindsey Nelson Stadium was the host site for NCAA Regionals in 1993, 1994, 1995, 2001 and 2005. In 1995, the Mideast Regional ranked fifth among the eight sites with 18,787 fans attending the games. Tennessee had three crowds among the top-10 largest to ever see a game at Lindsey Nelson Stadium. In the regional final, a record crowd of 5,086 saw the Vols earn a trip to the College World Series by defeating Oklahoma State, 3-1.

Coastal Carolina

Coastal Carolina University is a dynamic, public comprehensive liberal arts institution located in Conway, just minutes from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. That’s always a plus when looking for your baseball heaven.

The Coastal Carolina baseball team calls Charles Watson Stadium/Vrooman Field home. The stadium has received significant upgrades for the 2008 season, making the field one of the best in both the conference and the Southeast. Watson Stadium/ Vrooman Field will have new seats and new turf outside of the bases and home plate for 2008. The clubhouse also has been renovated, with new lockers, a new lounge and a new training facility for the Chanticleers. Coastal also had five games at BB&T Coastal Field in 2007, including the 2007 NCAA Myrtle Beach Regional. Further improvements to the facilities include a brand new hitting complex beyond the center field wall.

RT Staff

"Is this heaven?"
"It's collegiate baseball."
"Collegiate baseball? I could have sworn this was heaven.."

"Is there a heaven?"
"Oh yeah. It's the place where dreams come true."
"Maybe this IS heaven."

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Baseball Heaven...The Southeast

RT Staff Note: This is part two of our collegiate baseball series on baseball heaven. Enjoy our southeastern picks.

Florida State

We love this place! Dick Howser Stadium will take its place as one of the top collegiate baseball facilities in the country after a two-year, $12 million dollar project was completed in 2004. Located on the campus of Florida State University, the stadium has provided almost two million fans with the feeling of having "the best seat in the house" to watch the finest in college baseball action.

Florida State's players and coaches enjoy the convenience and luxury of a clubhouse and locker room currently located behind the Seminole dugout. The Griffin Family Clubhouse was moved to the first base side for the 2004 season as the construction process was completed. The main locker room area is fully-carpeted and contains a personalized wooden locker for each player, a separate locker room for the Seminole coaches, and a video area where FSU players and coaches can watch film. The coaches' offices look over the stadium behind home plate. A built-in stereo system blares the players' latest favorites. There is also a weight room and training area adjacent to the clubhouse. Each of the areas were expanded and improved during the renovation process.

There are on-going efforts to keep Dick Howser Stadium one of the top facilities in college baseball. Truly a "player's ballpark," the stadium has had many upgrades since it opened in 1983: the addition of a 30-foot screen to the top of the right field wall, the adding of a roof to the grandstand and state-of-the-art video board.

Dick Howser Stadium, named after the late Kansas City Royals and Florida State manager who was also Florida State's first-ever baseball All-American, is a showcase befitting one of the top collegiate teams in the nation. From the beautifully-manicured playing surface to the chairback seats, Howser Stadium is one of the best places in the country to watch a game.

Stadium capacity increased to 6,700 as additional seats were added during the two-year construction process. Florida State annually ranks in the top 10 nationally in attendance. In 2003, Florida State baseball fans set records in both total attendance (131,223) and average attendance (3,281). In 1994, the one-millionth fan walked through the gates of Howser Stadium in only its 12th season of operation. Total attendance will reach two million early this season. Since the 1983 opening, FSU has averaged almost 2,500 fans per game.

Florida State fans are simply the best and most knowledgeable in college baseball. Although they live and die with "their" Seminoles, the FSU faithful are known nationwide for their sportsmanship and appreciation of good baseball - by both teams, as well as their sometimes "creative" brand of support. Fans, along with the stadium and a professional game operation, are a large reason Dick Howser Stadium has been the site of 19 NCAA Regional Tournaments in 20 years since its' opening in 1983.

The stadium was dedicated in honor of Dick Howser in March of 1988 prior to an exhibition game between Florida State and the Kansas City Royals, two of Howser's former teams. As part of the stadium dedication, Kansas City all-stars George Brett and Bo Jackson helped unveil a new $150,000 matrix scoreboard and a bronze bust of Howser.


In 1971, former Miami coach Ron Fraser had a dream of building a state-of-the-art college baseball field and Hurricane supporter George Light came forward with the funding. In 1974, when more assistance was needed, Light again was the savior. However, Light never got to see the Hurricanes reach the College World Series. He died shortly after that second donation as the Hurricanes finished second in their first CWS. The field, dedicated in 1977, is named for Light's son, Mark, who died of muscular dystrophy.
Several additional renovations were made in the fall of 1996. The locker room, training room and umpire's room were each revamped. A new hitting backstop and sound system were also added. The facility currently holds 5,000 spectators.

Mark Light Field will undergo renovations in the near future. A $3.9 Million contribution by New York Yankees All-Star Alex Rodriguez got the fundraising campaign underway. The gift was the largest ever to the Universtiy of Miami baseball program. The University will name the newly renovated facility Alex Rodriguez Park upon its construction. The first will assist the program in continuing to develop first-class facilities. The entire place is expected to cost in the neighborhood of $11 million.


Foley Field, constructed at a cost of $3.5 million in 1990, is one of the finest baseball complexes in the country. The stadium's capacity of 3,291 includes chairback and bleacher-style seating. The grandstand area is covered by a partial roof with both concession stands and rest rooms located in the stadium. A new playing surface and drainage system was installed in the summer of 2003.
The complex continues to get better with new chairbacks on the lower level and in the covered area of the grandstand added in 2003. There are indoor and outdoor bullpens and indoor hitting cages. The lower portion of the stadium includes a spacious locker room, players lounge, a coaches office, an equipment room plus exercise and athletic training facilities.

The first home for the Diamond Dogs was Herty Field where they played from 1886 until 1911. After that, they moved to Sanford Field until 1943.

After World War II, the Diamond Dogs played on a field with no name located on "Ag. Hill," where Stegeman Coliseum is today. When construction for the Coliseum began in 1962, the Diamond Dogs moved to their freshman field, which was next to where the Butts-Mehre building is now. In 1966, the Diamond Dogs moved to their current location, and two years later, it was named Foley Field. On May 5, 1990, a $3.5 million refurbished Foley Field was dedicated.

Named after Judge Frank Foley, Foley Field is consistently ranked among the nation's top collegiate baseball stadiums. Frank Foley is considered one of Georgia's all-time greats for his contributions both on and off the field. Foley was part of the 1908 Southeastern championship team that recorded a mark of 20-2. He was a distinguished alumnus who is remembered by many as a kind and caring gentleman. His enthusiasm for the University of Georgia was second-to-none.


Auburn's Samford Stadium-Hitchcock Field at Plainsman Park placed itself among the nation's finest college baseball facilities after receiving a $4.2 million facelift nine years ago.

The commitment to excellence of Auburn's baseball program is evident by the continuing efforts to keep Plainsman Park on the forefront of college baseball. Those efforts have included three additions to the facility since its initial renovations in 1996.

The most recent projects included a new drainage system and playing surface in the Summer of 2003 and the completion of the Strength and Rehabilitation Center adjacent to Plainsman Park in January of 2004.

The Strength and Rehabilitation Center is a two-story, 13,274 square foot facility that houses a weight room for the baseball team on the first floor and a rehabilitation and research center on the second floor.

The weight room is unrivaled in collegiate baseball and features nearly 50 pieces of equipment. The facility also has its own locker room.

Upon completion in February 2002, the new landscape now provides a more intimate setting for the nation's top facility, allowing fans to have seats down each foul line within feet of the playing surface. Renovations also included additional concession and restroom facilities behind the newly added seats along the right field foul line.

The bullpens, which once existed where the seats down the foul line were added, have found new locations in Plainsman Park. Auburn's bullpens are located behind the Green Monster in left field, while the visiting bullpen rests beyond the right center field fence, next to the K Corner.

Georgia Tech

Scenically nestled in downtown Atlanta, Russ Chandler Stadium provides a brilliant backdrop for college baseball and offers one of the best atmospheres for the game in the country.

Russ Chandler Stadium, the home of Georgia Tech baseball for more than 70 years, has a long and storied history from its original construction in 1930 with funds from Tech's 1929 appearance in the Rose Bowl game to its use as a training facility for the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games. The facility underwent a complete reconstruction for the 2002 season in less than eight months at a cost of $9.7 million, making Russ Chandler Stadium one of the top collegiate ballparks in America.

With a seating capacity of 4,157, Georgia Tech's baseball facility more than doubled in size from the previous stadium. Russ Chandler Stadium features approximately 1,100 chairback seats behind the home plate area in addition to nearly 3,000 bleacher seats. Space is available down the left field line for future expansion that would bring the capacity to over 5,000.

The facility includes locker rooms for both Georgia Tech and the visiting team, as well as one for the umpires. Tech's locker room area, which has moved to the third base side of the stadium, includes a player's lounge with a large-screen television, a video room where players and coaches can break down game film, and a separate locker area for the coaching staff. A state-of-the-art athletic training room is adjacent to the Tech locker room in addition to a sizeable weight room and workout facility.

The stadium features three covered batting cages and pitching mounds. One is located underneath the grandstand, while an enclosed area above the left field grandstand houses two additional cages and mounds.

Two enclosed luxury suites are located to one side of the press box, while six open-air, covered suites are on the other side of the press area. The stadium was designed by the architectural firm of HOK, which also designed Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore, Jacobs Field in Cleveland and AT&T Park in San Francisco among others. The joint venture of Carter & Associates and Turner Construction handled the construction of the project.

In 2002, the Yellow Jackets enjoyed a record-setting season with attendance. Tech set a Chandler Stadium regular season single game attendance record when 4,264 watched the Yellow Jackets defeat Georgia, 9-1 on March 27. Tech attracted over 15,000 fans for its games in the NCAA Atlanta Regional and Super Regional. The Yellow Jackets opened the new stadium with 22 straight victories and went 36-4 for the season on their home field.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Baseball Heaven...Mid South/Southwest

RT Staff Note: We continue our 2nd Annual Baseball Heaven series with the Mid South/Southwest. Baseball in this part of the country is huge, well attended and doesn't quite have the distractions, competition for events and activities that some California schools have. The stadiums are incredible and the fan base, the best in the college ranks. Enjoy the Mid South/Southwest's version of Baseball Heaven.
RT Staff

University Of Arkansas

When discussing the best college baseball facilities in the country, Baum Stadium is consistently one of the first places mentioned. Rounding Third ranks it the best stadium in the country. We also rank the fans as the best fans in the nation as well. A lot of college baseball coaches, athletic directors, university administrators and the NCAA itself, needs to take a road trip to Fayetteville and see what they do and copy it.

With room for more than 10,000 spectators, an impeccable playing surface and amenities that rival most minor-league ballparks, it is the crown jewel of the amateur ranks. Of course the physical properties of Baum Stadium are only a portion of the baseball experience with the remainder in the form of fans that flock to the corner of Razorback and 15th Street to watch their Razorbacks take on all comers.

Officially named Baum Stadium at George Cole Field at its dedication on May 3, 1996, the facility derives its name from primary backers as well as from the history of Razorback Baseball.
Arkansas’ facility prior to Baum Stadium was George Cole Field, and the new park clung to the past with its current name.

In 1998 Baum Stadium received a special honor when it was named the nation’s number one facility in Baseball America’s poll of best college facilities. Five years later it took second in the same poll, cementing its legacy as one of the best facilities in the nation. In 2008, Rivals.com named Baum the best collegiate stadium in the country. Since its construction, Arkansas officials have received numerous solicitations by coaches and administrators from across the country for blueprints and tours of the Razorbacks’ home ballpark in an attempt to capture some of its charm. Even though Baum Stadium has been replicated to some degree, no other place in the country has the atmosphere that Baum Stadium brings to college baseball which is why it has been the host to four NCAA Regional and a NCAA Super Regional.

Baum Stadium’s has a new scoreboard, and natural grass completely changed the feel of the park. A state-of-the-art scoreboard added full video, complete with a message center and an analog clock were added to the right-center field gap, which stands 39-feet-high by 76-feet-wide.

The most recent renovation to Baum Stadium came prior to the 2007 season as 20 luxury boxes were built, 1,000 chair back seats were added, restrooms constructed and the Hog Pen and picnic area expanded. A new ticket office, field lights and wall pads were added as well. The final set of upgrades to the park brought Baum Stadium’s capacity to 10,737 seats with 8,237 of those coming from chair backs and 34 luxury boxes.

The combination of the upgrades and a top 10 baseball team produced record attendance numbers throughout the 2007 season as Arkansas smashed its school record for the fourth straight year. The Razorbacks became the first team in NCAA history to average more than 8,000 tickets sold per game (8,069) as its attendance over 33 home games was 266,270. Arkansas also set a school record for actual attendance with 198,218 (6,007 per game) passing through the gates.

The Hogs’ set single-game attendance records on May 5, 2007 against LSU with 10,727 tickets sold and an actual attendance of 10,581. They also set the school and Southeastern Conference three-game series attendance record that same weekend, May 4-6, 2007, with 30,564 tickets sold.

In an informal study by the Baton Rouge (La.) Advocate, Arkansas led the nation in actual attendance between 2004 and 2007 and were edged by LSU in 2008 by 20 fans as patrons returned to Baton Rouge’s Alex Box Stadium in its final season.

1. University of Texas

The University of Texas averages 5,492 fans a game. Until the Tampa Bay Rays started winning, the Longhorns were almost matching them in attendance. But we digress. UT has one of the more storied programs in the country and is one of the great places to play ball.
Like our California counterparts, the weather is conducive to play ball in late February and that’s important information to know if you are going to commit to three or four years of college baseball.

Disch-Falk Field opened in 1975 and the Longhorns, with the aid of All-American campaigns from Keith Moreland and Jim Gideon capture the program's third National Championship behind a 56-6 overall record. Notably, the national title was the first for UT in 25 years. Some other notable moments in UT baseball history was Junior right-hander Eric Stone becomes only the second pitcher in Texas history to strike out 19 opposing batters in one game when he fans 19 Ragin' Cajuns on March 18, 1998, to help UT claim a 2-0 victory over Southwestern Louisiana. Notably, the other pitcher to strike out 19 batters was Burt Hooton, who turned the trick against Texas Tech during a 1-0 victory in 13 innings on March 19, 1971.

The UT campus, like the state is huge, but very aesthetically pleasing campus and is everything a student athlete would want in a university. Outside of the west coast, you can’t go wrong with the Texas version of baseball heaven. Yep, everything is big in Texas (see the clock tower to the right) and the Longhorns score big on our top places to play ball in this part of the country. Yeehaw!

2. Oklahoma State

In 1981, the start of a new chapter in Oklahoma State baseball history was written. The Cowboys began play in one of the nation's finest facilities and returned to national prominence. Allie P. Reynolds Stadium has now been home to Cowboy baseball for over 20 years. Located on the northeast side of campus, Reynolds Stadium is located on the same site as the old baseball facility, University Park, and is named in honor of former OSU and major league pitching great Allie P. Reynolds.

The $2.2 million structure, with approximately 1,000 chairback seats, 2,000 bleacher seats in the main grandstand and 1,000 bleacher seats down the left-field foul line, Reynolds Stadium has a capacity near 4,000.

The Cowboys have added 693 games in the win column against only 144 losses for an impressive winning percentage of .828 in their home stadium. During the 1986 and '87 seasons, the Cowboys amassed a 54-game winning streak at home.

In addition to nine NCAA Regionals, Reynolds Stadium has played host to several of the nation's elite teams including: Arizona, Auburn, Cal State-Fullerton, Stanford, Texas, UCLA and Wichita State.
Allie P. Reynolds also has one of the nation's finest press boxes, featuring three radio booths and seating for 25 members of the media. In June 2005, the Cowboys moved into a new clubhouse along the third base dugout. The 6,200-square foot facility was built at an approximate cost of $700,000 and includes spacious wooden lockers for each player and a lounge area with leather couches, a big screen television and top of the line audio equipment. There is also a new locker room for the OSU coaches, a locker room for umpires, showers, an equipment room, a training room and a kitchen area for pre-game meals.

3. LSU

Alex Box Stadium, the home of the LSU Fighting Tigers, has a storied history which spans several decades. Always known as an excellent facility, recent efforts to upgrade the stadium have made it comparable to that of many professional minor-league clubs.In 2007 , the Tigers drew 256,537 fans to Alex Box Stadium as LSU finished first in the nation in total attendance for the 12th straight year. The Tigers set an NCAA record in 2004 for average attendance with 7,898 per contest. LSU established an NCAA total attendance mark in 2003 as 291,676 fans purchased tickets for “Baseball at the Box.”

LSU has been among the nation's attendance leaders for the past 17 seasons, finishing No. 5 in 1991, No. 6 in 1992, No. 4 in 1993, No. 3 in 1994 and 1995, and No. 1 from 1996-2007.

Over the past 24 seasons, the Tigers have attracted over four million fans to Alex Box Stadium. A total of 4,231,830 patrons have watched the Tigers play at "The Box" since 1984.

The stadium is recognized both for its oldfashioned charm and for its modern renovations. Since 1985, it has been the site of four SEC tournaments, 17 NCAA regional tournaments, three NCAA super regional series and one ABCA Hall of Fame tournament. “The Box” has undergone several facility-improvement projects designed to enhance the comfort and enjoyment of LSU baseball fans.
Prior to the 1999 season, the stadium scoreboard was moved from leftcenter field to right-center field. Bleachers were then installed in left-center field, increasing seating capacity to 7,760.

Visitors to Alex Box Stadium in 1998 had for the first time the opportunity to enjoy a concessions/picnic area behind the rightfield bleachers, complementing a similar facility behind the left-field bleachers.

4. Rice
Entering its ninth season in 2008, Reckling Park underwent extensive renovations in the summer of 2007 and is now even better than ever before. The recent renovations include a brand new playing surface and state-of-the-art drainage system.

A padded outfield wall and warning track that surrounds the entire field was added to improve player-safety. For the fans, a new grass berm and bleachers beyond the left field wall, a new hospitality plaza on the third-base side were all added and a new scoreboard and video display center are to be added in-season.

Reckling Park was always one of the best places in the country to watch the college game. The changes now make among the very best places in the country to watch and play the college game. These improvements give Rice student-athletes a venue befitting its status as one of the top programs in the nation.

From its picturesque setting on the Rice campus facing the Texas Medical Center, to the comfort of the more than 3,700 chairback seats (most with cupholders), to the nine private suites, to the spacious locker rooms for both teams and umpires, to the best press box in college baseball, every visitor has raved about Reckling Park.

Rice baseball is completely housed in the facility. Head coach Wayne Graham and his assistants work in a spacious office suite which includes their private locker room, equipment storage areas and clerical areas.

For the players, the Rice clubhouse is one of the best anywhere, adjacent to the weight and aerobic workout areas and athletic training room. In 2004, a brand new climate-controlled, indoor hitting and pitching practice facility was constructed under the third base stands.
On game day, the Owls and their guests use some of the largest dugouts in the country. Visiting teams and umpires also have use of large, functional locker room areas.

Fans continue to flock to the stadium. Rice has averaged more than 3,100 fans per game the last four seasons, ranking among the top draws in the nation. Those fans have access to three large concession areas, a large novelty shop and comfortable rest rooms.

5. Ole Miss
The stadium’s first action saw the Rebels sweep a doubleheader from Cumberland University on a bitter cold day, February 19, 1989. Still, a crowd of 1,016 braved the elements to be a part of that historic day in the school’s baseball history.

Ole Miss officially dedicated its new home on April 22, 1989, with a ceremony attended by many dignitaries, including Hall of Famer Whitey Ford and Ole Miss great Archie Manning. A sellout crowd of 2,967 attended and watched the Rebels down Kentucky, 4-3.

of a roof. A seating area was added beyond the right field fence in 1993, where hundreds of Ole Miss students have become accustomed to spending their sunny spring afternoons at the ball park.

The right field area has since undergone another transformation as a left field and right field lounge area was constructed during the 2000 season. The area is complete with picnic tables and barbeque stands to make this unique vantage point even more enjoyable.

Oxford-University Stadium’s features also include ample parking, concession stands, restrooms, an electronic scoreboard equipped with a full-size message board and television production facilities. The stadium is also equipped with AAA lighting that surpasses virtually every minor league ballpark in terms of quality.

Underneath the stadium, the Ole Miss players have a spacious locker room. Head coach Mike Bianco and his staff also have a separate office underneath the stands that is located adjacent to an all-purpose room, which serves as a player lounge and press interview area.

In the fall of 2003, a new 6,800-square-foot indoor batting facility was built down the first base line. With the new addition, the Rebels have been able to turn the indoor batting tunnel that is located underneath the first base stands, into a workout area for the pitchers.

"Is this heaven?"
"It's collegiate baseball."
"Collegiate baseball? I could have sworn this was heaven.."

"Is there a heaven?"
"Oh yeah. It's the place where dreams come true."
"Maybe this IS heaven."