The NCAA Division I Board of Directors did not delay the implementation of a minimum scholarship threshold for college baseball as the sport’s academic enhancement group proposed, but it did amend the controversial legislation at its Thursday meeting.
Schools will now be required to offer at least a 25 percent aid package to all scholarship players, rather than the 33 percent that was approved in April. In order to make the change more palatable to underfunded schools that had protested the change, programs that have less than 11.7 scholarships at their disposal will be able to use countable institutional aid to get to 25 percent. This means underfunded programs will be able to stretch their funds a little farther than they otherwise would have by giving out more need-based aid.
“If you had five scholarships and you had to give 33 percent to each kid, theoretically you could only have 15 kids on scholarship,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri, a member of the working group that will continue to study this issue in the next year. “Now, with 25 percent, you can have 20 kids, and you can stretch it further with the institutional aid.”
The lower scholarship threshold also gives fully funded schools a little more wiggle room in case something unexpected happens with their rosters.
“This gives you more flexibility–not a lot, it’s still going to be very restrictive, much more than we’re used to doing, but this is the way the rule is, so we’re just going to have to abide by it,” Mainieri said.
Also Thursday, the NCAA opted not to reconsider the ban on text messaging it passed in April. That ban significantly changes the way coaches can contact players–they’ll have to return to relying on e-mails and weekly phone calls.
“I think (text messaging) was helpful for so many more reasons than simply another contact with a recruit–whether it was for pitching rotations, directions to a field, or scheduling changes, or even just getting kids to call you in a timely manner, the text messaging was a really helpful tool,” Michigan assistant coach Bob Keller said. “With only one phone call per week, sometimes it can be pretty difficult to establish a relationship with some of the players you’re trying to recruit. Yeah, it might seem pretty inconsequential to shoot somebody a couple sentences on a cell phone text message, but over time, I’ve seen it help me learn a little more about these players, learn more about my recruits, build some rapport and a relationship with some of these kids.”
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