Daily Compliance Item- 5/18/12- Current Event- MLB and NCAA

NCAA, MLB ponder partnership on additional scholarships USA TODAY Over a five-decade coaching career that has produced an NCAA-record 1,846 victories and five national championships, Texas’ Augie Garrido has awarded one full scholarship. That went to five-time major league All-Star Tim Wallach, who played for Garrido at Cal State-Fullerton in the 1970s. But if a proposed partnership between the NCAA and Major League Baseball comes together, Garrido — and many other Division I baseball coaches — will have the luxury of offering more full rides to premier recruits, possibly including junior college transfers. MLB is considering funding a full scholarship for select Division I programs in an effort to improve diversity in the college game and augment the increasingly productive stream of major leaguers who developed their skills at the college level. Discussions between MLB and the NCAA have been ongoing for years and are not close to being finalized. But both sides see an upside. “This is out of the ordinary in how we’ve conducted business in the past, and we fully understand that this is a novel idea that must be approached carefully,” said Dennis Poppe, NCAA director of football and baseball operations. “A lot of things are still on the table, but this is something that frankly can really enhance the college game.” While affirming its belief that a strong NCAA baseball program benefits the overall growth of the game and enhances the development of professional players, MLB is being more guarded in its public comments. “Our discussions with the NCAA are at a conceptual phase,” said Rob Manfred, executive vice president of league affairs and economics. “It is unclear whether an agreement will be reached on any single concept, including a scholarship program. The details of any such program and possible tradeoffs with the NCAA are completely speculative at this point.” Division I baseball programs can offer a maximum of 11.7 scholarships (a total dropped from 13 in 1991), far short of the number needed to accommodate a sport that uses 20 players on a regular basis. Coaches can’t afford to devote a full scholarship to one player and must divide the aid into partial grants. Starting pitchers and impact position players — usually catchers, shortstops and center fielders — attract the highest-percentage scholarships at most schools, normally 50% to 80% of a full grant. The NCAA mandates that no scholarship be less than 25% of a full ride and that a maximum of 27 players can receive aid. “We are very limited and in this economy, baseball is not likely to get additional scholarships from member institutions in the immediate future,” said Dave Keilitz, executive director of the American Baseball Coaches Association and a member of the committee exploring an agreement with MLB. “This is an opportunity to attract some really elite athletes, and if it can happen, it will be one of the best things that has ever happened to college baseball.” More than 300 Division I schools field baseball teams, but less than half that fully fund those programs in terms of scholarships and budgets. It is unclear whether MLB would offer additional aid to every D-I institution or only those that have made a major commitment to the game. “I wouldn’t be in favor of that,” said Ray Tanner, coach of two-time defending national champion South Carolina. “If you’re not fully funded, you need the scholarship more than anyone else. I don’t think you can exclude those schools. “I’m ecstatic that Major League Baseball and college baseball are working together. As far as scholarships go, I do think it probably would have to be tweaked a little bit, but I’m all about working together.” Keilitz said discussions with MLB have not zeroed in on which schools would be offered aid. “Certainly from the Major League Baseball side, they want to assist programs that have made a commitment to baseball,” Keilitz said. “How many scholarships a school has got to offer (to have access to MLB assistance) has not been determined, but it reaches beyond just those fully funded programs.” Another possible requirement for the MLB scholarship would be that it not be split among multiple players. This would help attract minority players who are gravitating toward football and basketball, sports which offer full scholarships. “This, clearly, would offer us a better chance to include minorities in our programs who otherwise would be unable to afford to play baseball,” Garrido said. According to the NCAA, 5% of Division I baseball players last year were African Americans. A USA TODAY Sports survey pegged the percentage of black players on MLB opening-day rosters this season at 8.1%. “I agree 100% that it would have a positive impact on diversity and create a chance for the minority or disadvantaged kid,” Oregon coach George Horton said. “But do you help one kid or help several kids (by dividing the scholarship)? That may need to be massaged a little bit. But if (keeping the scholarship intact) is the only way MLB will fund the scholarship, I think we would all say yes.” College-trained players are becoming a more critical piece of the major league pie. Last year, roughly 50% of MLB players came from college while 25% signed out of high school and 25% came from other countries. “Last year, of the eight teams in the playoffs, 78 out of 200 were Division I players,” Keilitz said. “That number was 17 of 25 for the Arizona Diamondbacks. You would never have come close to seeing that 12, 15 years ago. The trend is going strong toward drafting college players.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s