Monday, June 25, 2007

Ride, or Bus Ride?

There is a new tempest in the teapot of college baseball. One of the changes to scholarship disbursement has a few coaches bent. Both Coach Polk of the University of Mississippi and Coach Tanner of the University of South Carolina expressed their displeasure with the new NCAA rule being applied.
Baseball receives 11.7 scholarships, which in the past were given out to players as the coach saw fit. A player could receive as little as book money, or 4 percent of a scholarship, but not more than 74 percent. No baseball player can receive a "full ride". Only one player can receive the 74 percent, the second highest at 54 percent, with the remainder trickling down in smaller amounts. As of this coming season, the new rules will set that minimum at 33 percent meaning if you receive a dime, you get 33 percent. Coach Tanner describes the changes like this, "They're giving us chump change, and now they're telling us how to spend the chump change."
Coach Polk is at odds with this rule because it will not reach its intended measure--baseball player graduation rates. I'm all for the players getting their degrees, but juniors will now be encouraged to go pro when picked by a Major League team. It not only frees up a spot on the squad, but the money to boot. Seniors graduate, not juniors , so who is it helping?

I can't for the life of me see how the NCAA can justify this. If a player is picked out of high school by the Major Leagues and the coach of a university said, "Come play for my school, I'll give you a third of a ride," I'll bet he takes the 60K signing bonus and rides the bus to his rookie league game with a smile and a paycheck.

Professor's Note: This is the first of a series of articles in which Whitey will examine the new rule changes in college baseball for 2008. Check back often or subscribe below!

Whitey & The Professor

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