The NCAA has instituted some new rules that dramatically impact your future as a college baseball player and you MUST understand exactly how these changes will affect you and your recruitment efforts.
The NCAA has come under some amount of criticism for these latest changes. Teams believe it will limit their ability to attract and retain talented athlete-students to their baseball programs, suffering the same fate as college basketball.
Already hampered by having only 11.7 scholarships to award to more than 30 players each season, the NCAA has approved legislation that will dictate how those scholarships are awarded.
Not all scholarships are full in baseball. Usually, a coach will divide his 11.7 scholarships up among the 25-plus players on his team to make sure almost everyone has some sort of financial help.
Division I baseball programs are limited to 11.7 scholarships, and most, if not all, break up that financial aid over a wide group of players.
The NCAA has been criticized for reducing the number of scholarships available for college baseball, eliminating coaching positions and reducing the number of games baseball teams can play each spring.
College baseball has always had the short end of the stick in terms of scholarships. Division I-A football teams receive 85 scholarships, and men’s and women’s basketball teams have 13 scholarships. Women’s equestrian can dole out 15 scholarships, and women’s crew teams can award 20 scholarships. College baseball teams according to NCAA rules only receive 11.7 scholarships for their teams.
Under the new rules, which will go in effect for the 2008-09 academic year, baseball rosters will be capped at 35 players, with only 30 players being eligible to receive financial aid. Starting in 2009-10, only 27 players can receive financial aid, each of whom must receive at least one-third of a full scholarship.
The new college baseball rules also include legislation that is targeted at increasing player retention and graduation rates for college baseball. In the past, baseball players could transfer from one school to another without penalty. Football, basketball and men’s hockey players have to sit out one season at their new school if they transfer. Under the new rules, baseball players also will face that one-year penalty if they leave.
Under the new rules, players also must be academically eligible during fall semester to play the following spring, which will require more players to attend summer school.
Most college baseball players don’t attend summer school because they can’t afford it. If a player receives only a 4 percent scholarship during the school year, he receives the same financial aid during summer school. Scholarship athletes in basketball and football attend summer school because their scholarships will cover all the costs.
The rules changes are the results of the NCAA’s new Academic Performance Rates, which measure each student’s progress toward obtaining an academic degree. Teams failing to score 925 in the APR — equivalent to a 50 percent graduation rate — can lose scholarships.
Recently the NCAA released a list of 112 programs that were subject to penalties because of poor APR scores. One-quarter of the programs on the list were baseball teams.