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Must Read for High School Baseball Players and their Parents

baseball on field representing why some don't play college baseballThere is a post at the Next Level Baseball Player blog that all high school baseball players who want to play college baseball and their parents should read “A Raw Look Inside College Baseball Recruiting.” It’s an email from a coach at a D1 university responding to a father who asked why his kid isn’t good enough to play for the coach’s college baseball program.

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Given the arrogance and pretension that comes across in the father’s email, I admire the coach’s measured response. I think the coach does an excellent job of explaining why he isn’t recruiting the player and is actually pretty nice about it. The father complains that this was the only college that used “a negative approach so far.” The father should be thanking the coach for letting the player know as soon as possible that he wasn’t interested so that the player could look elsewhere.

Be realistic about your abilities

Furthermore, it wasn’t as if the baseball coach told the player that we don’t like your hair color. He gave very specific reasons why he wouldn’t be recruiting the player. Again, it certainly isn’t pleasant to hear that you aren’t good enough for the program but if you aren’t, shouldn’t you know?

Obviously, this father and player didn’t and no one else was bothering to tell them. Or people might have tried but they weren’t listening. I don’t think this was a matter of a player not matching up to one coach’s unrealistic expectations. The player is a 5′ 10″ RHP with an 81-mph fast ball–and asking for a scholarship from Indiana University. It makes you wonder who had been telling him he was certain to play college baseball at the D1 level, much less get a scholarship.

I suspect some people had been telling him that if he continued to improve at a certain rate and along with some other variable factor occurring, he might have a chance to play college baseball. The father probably never heard all of the qualifications and only heard what he wanted to hear.

Or maybe they were just the kind of family no one was going to go out of their way to bring them up to speed on reality. You know the type, the ones who may not actually kill the messenger but where the messengers certainly feel like they’ve been raked over the coals after delivering the message. Let’s face it, it’s just a lot easier to tell such people, “of course, your kid is the greatest thing since sliced bread!”

Unfortunately, too many players and their parents don’t acknowledge reality and bother to get educated about the college baseball recruiting process until after a disappointing summer after their junior year. Maybe at this point they’ll realize that they are more likely to play at the D2 or D3 level.

Chances are that baseball scholarships won’t pay for college

And here’s the problem.

Almost 80% of D3 colleges with baseball programs are private. This means that you’re going to have to pay a lot more money in tuition because D3 does not give athletic scholarships.

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At the D2 level, a little more than half of the schools are private which may offer more possibilities of scholarships. But there aren’t nearly as many D2 colleges as there are D3. Furthermore, D2 college baseball programs are only allowed nine scholarships and many are not fully funded.

Now many private colleges offer substantial academic scholarships, often referred to as merit aid. But how many of these baseball players are in the position to qualify for such money at the beginning of their senior year?

Just one more reason to keep your grades up. There are a lot more academic scholarships out there than baseball scholarships.

The sad part is that because there aren’t athletic scholarships involved, D3 baseball programs are often recruiting right up to the time the player accepts or rejects the college. So players still have a pretty good chance of finding a college team to play on but they may not be able to afford it.

If you want to play college baseball you need to make the right match

Two things in the coach’s email stood out for me. He tells the father that “I am a believer that ALL kids can play beyond high school at some level. It may not be division one, but they can play somewhere.” His final remarks include “The art, or the real skill in selecting a college, is making sure the player (and family) find the best match.”

Too many parents and players don’t realize that “somewhere” is D3 and no athletic scholarship is the status quo for the majority of college athletes who play college baseball. And the high school baseball players who spend the time to select colleges that will provide the “best match” are more likely to be recruited.

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Must Read for High School Baseball Players and their Parents