The sweeping academic reform legislation that threatens to dramatically alter the college baseball landscape cleared another major hurdle on Thursday.
The Division I Board of Directors met in Indianapolis and took no action on the legislation, which had received enough override votes to force the Board to consider it for a third time. The Board already revised the package in August after the first override vote, lowering the minimum scholarship threshold from 33 percent to 25 percent, but this time the Board chose not to make any changes to the proposal.
That means the only way the proposal can be overturned is if five-eighths of the Division I delegates in attendance at the full NCAA Convention in January vote against it. The chances of that happening are almost nil, as Mississippi State coach Ron Polk even admitted. Polk, the most vocal critic of the legislation, did issue a statement over the phone in response to Thursday’s developments:
"Not to table this proposal is an evil act perpetrated by highly intelligent people who have no earthly idea what the ramifications are for student athletes, parents and coaches around the country," Polk said. "With their continued assault on college baseball, this is just another example of the NCAA powers that be making rules that hurt kids, parents, and coaches but do not want to listen to anyone who must live with their rules on a day-by-day basis."
Polk’s fight against the roster cap and scholarship restrictions included an 18-page letter to every Division I school that plays baseball, but on Friday he admitted defeat. Polk and his peers now must face the unpleasant prospect of cutting down their roster size to adhere to the 35-man roster cap that goes into effect in August of 2008.
Since players will not be able to transfer without sitting out a year starting next summer, Polk is advising all players who are unlikely to make his 35-man roster to transfer in between semesters, the last chance to transfer freely. The Bulldogs currently have 14 walk-on players, and they’ll only be allowed to keep five of them on the roster, so nine of them will have to find another place to play.
That will be a boon to smaller Division I schools–Polk said he’s heard plenty of tales of smaller Division I schools attending fall practices for other D-I schools to scout players who are bound to be cut loose–as well as Division II, Division III and junior college programs. It could also be good for major league teams, who will have more leverage in the draft next summer because colleges will be forced to tell their drafted players to either sign or else lose their roster spots. But it will be bad for players who want to play Division I baseball, particularly at the traditional powers.
You can expect a huge spike in player movement after this fall semester, as players who see the writing on the wall scramble to find an opportunity elsewhere before it’s too late. Ironically, that Academic Progress Rate-induced player movement will in effect have a negative impact on baseball’s APR, because schools are going to lose retention points when players transfer.
That’s just one more unfortunate consequence of this short-sighted, reactionary legislation. It truly is a shame that the Board of Directors did not have the patience to fix baseball’s APR problem properly. Strong penalties would have forced underachieving teams to police themselves–it’s a simple matter of self-preservation. Instead, the NCAA has created a lot more problems than it solved by forcing flawed legislation down college baseball’s throat.
As Polk put it, "This is a dark day for the national pastime at the amateur level."
Comments will be monitored prior to being added to the site. Comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be rejected. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed.
We have chosen to open up commenting to everyone, so comment away! We want to hear from each and every one of you! Leave a comment.
About This Blog
Syndicate This Blog
Search This Blog