MLB, NCAA In Serious Talks About Scholarship Funds

In an effort to improve diversity and draw more of the country's best amateur athletes to baseball, MLB is in serious discussions with the NCAA to provide additional scholarship funds according to Bryan Fischer of Colleges are currently limited to 11.7 scholarships for baseball and many schools are unable to fund even that many.

Baseball America's Aaron Fitt reports that a contingent of NCAA officials met with MLB executive vice president Rob Manfred and MLBPA head Michael Weiner in New York three weeks ago, and "talks are really picking up steam." Colleges had 13 scholarships at their disposal until a 10% reduction in 1991, and American Baseball Coaches Association executive Dave Keilitz told Fitt that it would be a "huge victory" to get back to 13 scholarships soon. "Personally, I'm hopeful it's more ambitious than that," he added.

Colleges are currently allotted 85 scholarships for football and 13 for basketball, drawing some players away from baseball. It's been speculated that the draft spending restrictions implemented by the collective bargaining agreement could push prospects to other sports as well. In addition to scholarship funding, the two sides have discussed moving the College World Series to better accommodate the draft as well as the widespread implementation of wood bats according to Fischer.

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15 Responses to MLB, NCAA In Serious Talks About Scholarship Funds Leave a Reply

  1. My first thought was how this might mitigate the effects of the new draft restrictions. Have you heard from any sources if this move is seen as tangibly beneficial?

  2. Stuart Brown 3 years ago

    I don’t even…11.7 scholarships? Does that mean that they offer 11 full scholarships and then 70% of one? How does that even work?

    • hawkny1 3 years ago

      More often than not, college teams offer 1/2 scholarships to its baseball recruits.  Some offer even less to fill out its roster of players….as little as 1/4th the cost of attendance at their schools.  Obviously, this is not much of an inducement for top athletes…when the can get a full ride if they play football or basketball.

  3. Brian Bullock 3 years ago

    Good move for the game. Bottom line.

  4. hawkny1 3 years ago

    Additional scholarships, say, going from 11.7 to 15 -16 would be exceptionally good for college baseball, as fewer and fewer students from minority backgrounds are choosing baseball over other sports, if (and when) they seek scholarship support to go to college.  Waivers should also be factored in for small schools that field teams in competitive conferences, such as the ACC, SEC and the Big 10. Perhaps increasing the number of scholarships to as many as 20, on an as needed basis, would create a more level playing field for those schools that regularly play larger schools in their conferences. Prior team performance and financial need in the school’s athletic department should be a consideration in determining the awarding of additional scholarships beyond the 15-16 previously noted.  

    MLB might also want to consider subsidizing summer baseball camps for high school aged minority players who show academic promise and the potential to play baseball  at the major college level.  Such programs will serve to induce younger athletes to choose baseball over other popular sports while attending high school. Likewise, summer camps around the country would assist college coaching staffs to recruit talented players for their respective programs.

  5. dshires4 3 years ago

    Funny. They care about bringing in more amateur talent, yet they forced teams to stay under a fixed total internationally, meaning we’ll no longer see large bonuses for uber-talented Latin players, which I’d guess means we’ll see a lot more talented soccer players in by the time Qatar holds a World Cup, and they basically told the teams that they’re in deep trouble if they go over the slot recommendation, meaning we won’t see a Strasburg sized deal, ever again.

    Scholarships? Please. Amateur’s should have no motivation to flock to baseball when their only pay day is six years into their major league career, assuming they even make it that far.

  6. withpower 3 years ago

    So the new scholarships are for the purpose of diversity?  Does that mean the additional scholarships will only go towards “diverse” players based on their level of “diversity” and not the best player?  Or is diversity a code word which automatically refers to the “best” players anyway?  Diversity = no tight hips?  Did I get that right?

    Less room for gritty players with high motors who “understand the game”?  Did I hit enough stereotypes for the Khazars running MLB?

    • jdubtrey 3 years ago

      I think MLB’s true goal is to get more guys in college which will make drafting a little bit easier because scouts will have more data to work with.

      MLB would probably love it if all guys went to college, had more predictable outcomes after the draft, and spent their 6.6 years of service time at ages 23-30 rather than 21-28.

  7. petrie000 3 years ago

    so MLB’s already admitting that yes, in fact, the new amatuer salary cap isn’t the greatest idea Bud Selig ever had? You’d think they’d have looked in to this BEFORE implenting the new rules, honestly.

  8. would be a good move for the game. But most of which is a Pipe Dream at best. Wood Bats for one if schools can barely afford 10 scholarships how are they gonna afford to replace wood bats every year when they break or in season. 

  9. hawkny1 3 years ago

    The concept of creating economic opportunity programs for disadvantaged students has been part a component of college recruiting for several decades.  I see no reason why this concept couldn’t be extended to collegiate sports as a part of their efforts to be balanced in their athletic recruitment efforts. MLB can put its money behind such programs, especially in locales where minority athletes are in the majority. But let me throw in the thought that balanced recruitment should work both ways.  I cringe for example every time I turn the TV to a college basketball game and notice that the two teams playing dress 30 players for the game, 28 of whom are from the minority community.  At the same time the school fields a cheerleading team for basketball that has an ethnic composition that is just the reverse. How is this justifiable?  Major sports teams at the collegiate level should be representative of the student populations at the school they represent, and the larger population, across the board.  This is what equal opportunity is all about.

  10. Jeff 3 years ago

     What’s the scholly situation for softball?

    The two sports should be equal.

  11. hawkny1 3 years ago

    Maybe so, but they can offer scholarships to the women who play baseball too, if it is necessary to comply with title IX.  

    The lack of participation in college baseball by minorities, even among women, is a growing social  and collegiate sports issue.  Baseball has to do something besides honor Jackie Robinson once a year and hire  few black men and women in the front offices of its league members to maintain its appeal to the minority community.

    Few, if any young people today relate to his, Robinson’s, achievements of the 1950’s. … I don’t say this to minimize Jackie, or Campy or Luke Easter or any of the early black players in MLB.  But the simple truth is Michael Jordan is old enough to be the grandfather of  great many young athletes today.  And he is about 40 years younger than Jackie.  Some kids might still “wanna be like Mike” but few  “wanna be like Robbie” or even know who Jackie was or what he did, in today’s teen world.

    Last year, for instance, in the ACC, the entire league had only 8 minority players on team rosters….  I have never counted but by expanding this low number to the other top tier leagues, there might be as few as 30-40 minority players, in total, in all of NCAA baseball.  Ultimately, this lack of participation affects the MLB talent pool and creates a dark cloud over the entire sport of baseball.   This is not good for the long term appeal of the sport. 

    In addition to positioning college baseball so that it can be accused of practicing racial discrimination,  so few minority players creates a diminished fan appeal, across the board.  There has to be a proactive approach to this concern and, as we all know, money talks.  MLB has the cash to spend.  They have to get involved.

  12. Infield Fly 3 years ago

    A thoughtful and well-rounded argument. There are several considerations here that few people seem to think of – including some aspects I was not aware of at all.

  13. hawkny1 3 years ago

    Most of the schools that field Division 1 baseball teams are privately supported and endowed.  Nearly all of the top tier public colleges that field teams are major schools with enrollments ranging from 25,000 to 50,000 students (or more).  

    In nearly all, football, subsidizes other sports, save and except basketball, which, often, adds money to the athletic department’s budgets that underwrite baseball, golf, hockey, tennis etc., through their own efforts. When one considers that the majority of football and basketball programs rely heavily on black athletes for their successes on the field, in the arena and at the gate…. one has to ask why there isn’t more effort made to recruit minority baseball players and participants in other lesser sports.?

    Blacks certainly deserve an opportunity to play when it is recognized that by their efforts they are earning the revenue that supports the nearly all white baseball teams that the big schools field, wouldn’t you agree? MLB has a stake in all of this too. If MLB continues to choose to ignore the fact that ethnic minorities are increasingly turned off by MLB…they risk losing a great deal of revenue and fan support down the road.

    So, if the college don’t have the money to add more scholarships as they claim, MLB has to do it. Who else can, the government? I don’t think so. However, the government might step in if the colleges do not do something to validate their equal opportunity obligations in their array of sports programs. The hints about racism in college athletics grow more numerous every day.

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