Now that we are getting close to the July reality check, I thought it would be a good time to share the following. The recruitment process is similar to that of the Major League Draft in that a high school athlete is taking the next step in his career – however it is important to remember that the purpose of college is to get an education, grow as a human being and continue to build upon the foundation you have developed since birth. Baseball is important (that’s why you are reading this right now) but don’t forget to include the several other factors that come with choosing a college and hopefully it’s certainly not to “get drafted.” Yes, that is what you could hear and yes that definitely happens but remember our golden rule ... if you actually use playing professional baseball as a back up plan and work everyday to succeed in life and focus on that, you should end up in a pretty good place when you have to hang up your cleats, whether it's at 22, 32 or 42 - because everybody stops playing someday!
The NCAA places restrictions on the coaches that are trying to convince athletes to play for them and attend their university. College baseball programs are only allowed to offer a limited amount of scholarships each year, so the process of earning a scholarship is quite competitive. Baseball is classified by the NCAA as an "equivalency" sport, meaning that limits on athletic financial aid are set to the equivalent of a fixed number of full scholarships. Division I schools are allowed the equivalent of 11.7 full scholarships; Division II schools, only 9.0. Schools generally choose to award multiple partial scholarships rather than exclusively full scholarships. In Division I, the NCAA also limits the total number of players receiving baseball-related financial aid to 27 and also requires that each of these players receive athletic aid equal to at least 25% of a full scholarship. Therefore when you do the math … (generally speaking) financially, the baseball scholarship is NOT the reason why you choose the college you end up choosing, especially as an incoming freshman. Yes, it helps cut into the overall costs for that one year but if it’s not the right fit you will end up paying thousands upon thousands of dollars more if you have to transfer. Just do your homework – choose the right school for the right reasons the first time!
Just to not make this post too long, I will cover how the NAIA and junior colleges utilize their scholarships in a separate post.