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Stockpiling or Over Recruiting

The New "Rage" In College Baseball

by: Bob Howdeshell
High School Baseball Web

Part 2

What College Coaches Say

First of all let's examine what caused the "Stockpiling" of incoming baseball players to start in the first place.

With the advent of huge professional baseball signing bonuses and players drafted in the later rounds receiving 6 figure bonuses it has made it increasingly difficult for college baseball programs to "keep" the incoming players from leaving for the minor leagues.

It's no secret that if a college baseball program wants to finish the year in Omaha they must compete against the Major League teams for the same kids.

At one time (not too long ago) it was possible for a college recruiter to say "Our program will give you a college education worth $30,000." A signing bonus for a mid round professional draft selection may not have even been that high. Balance in favor of the college coach.

This year some players drafted in the 8th and 9th rounds were receiving $100,000 or larger signing bonuses, and the average signing bonus in the 10th round (selections #281 - 310) was still more than $50,000. The job of the college baseball recruiter got even more difficult.
Advantage: Professional Baseball

College coaches will tell you (off the record) that they must over recruit or stockpile players in order to be competitive.

The reason they give are the significant losses due to players accepting professional signing bonuses. Some schools lose players for signing bonuses of $5,000 or even much less.

The college coaches that over recruit their scholarship dollars are betting that all the players signed will not show up on campus in August.

 What happens when even one player more than the expected number doesn't sign and enters school? As in the adult world it becomes a "survival of the fittest" situation.

But college coaches are not dealing with adults ... they are dealing with 17 and 18 year old kids in many cases. Young men that have the dream of playing for State U. and helping them win the College World Series championship.

The best players are given scholarship money and at the bottom of the list one or more players are left out.

High school players or junior college transfers that bought into the enthusiasm and excitement of the college recruiter's sales pitch.

Is "sales pitch" too strong a term? NO! If a college baseball coach wants to recruit the type of player necessary to help his team be successful he must sell the player on his school and program.

Keep in mind that NCAA Division I college baseball programs are only allowed 11.7 scholarships. NCAA DII - 9, NAIA - 12 and Junior College DI - 24. These can be divided up any way the coaching staff chooses.

Of course all 11.7 scholarships are not available each year. The TOTAL scholarship number is 11.7 -- for all 4 classes (freshman through senior).

And some schools do not fund all of the allowed number of baseball scholarships.

Common sense tells you that most players are only getting a small piece of the pie.

Some college baseball programs sign 15 to 20 (and even more) players per year. This is not illegal by NCAA rules.

What happens when a school has 30 or more returning players and then signs another 15 to 20? Some players choose on their own to quit baseball, some transfer to other schools (voluntarily) others are convinced (by the coach) to transfer to another 4 year school or junior college, and finally some do not have their scholarships renewed and are dropped from the team.

Is it morally or ethically wrong? That determination lies with the individual school and the respective college coaches.

High school player's and their parents should be aware of this practice and make a decision based on the knowledge that "It Can Happen To Your Son."


Part 3
What Should a Player and His Parent's Do?

Part 4
The Effect of the Hope and Tops Programs

Part 5
Over Recruiting 2002

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