College baseball teams can’t start practicing officially until tomorrow, but we’ve got a few other tidbits to pass along as the offseason wraps up. First, Oregon unveiled plans to build an impressive 5,000-seat, $15 million stadium in the parking lot of the Ducks’ football stadium. The Ducks have already secured $6.5 million in donations and are working on raising the rest–naming rights figure to account for a large chunk of that. As expected, the Ducks will share the facility with the short-season Eugene Emeralds of the Northwest League. We’ll have more on the stadium in this month’s installment of Oregon Trail in the coming weeks.
Meanwhile, in Knoxville, former Tennessee great Todd Helton became the first player to have his number retired by the Volunteers. The Rocky Mountain News has details of the entertaining ceremony.
Here’s one more news item from a busy Friday: Wofford outfielder Chuck Eller was charged with assault after police said he intentionally rammed his truck into a woman’s car early Thursday morning. Eller, a .243 career hitter with one home run in two years with the Terriers, reportedly told police he was too intoxicated to remember anything that happened. Eller’s status as a student will be decided after the resolution of the charges against him.
We’re still nearly a month away from the uniform start date for Division I baseball, but the year’s first college baseball games are underway in the junior college ranks. Friday’s schedule includes a heavy slate of games, highlighted by a matchup of two perennial JC powers in Florida, where Chipola JC will take on Broward CC. Other interesting matchups sure to attract scouts include Pensacola (Fla.) JC visiting Indian River (Fla.) CC, and Glendale (Ariz.) CC taking on Eastern Arizona JC.
Interesting story out of Arizona, where freshman two-way talent Chris Moon has left the second-ranked Wildcats to join the Army. Moon, who starred at national prep power Tucson High, told the Arizona Daily Star, "I talked to my parents and a few other people, and I decided school and baseball weren’t what I wanted to do anymore. It put a lot of stress on me, and it wasn’t as fun anymore."
Moon didn’t figure to be a critical piece for the loaded Wildcats in 2008, but he was a building block for the future, and Arizona will miss him. But as UA coach Andy Lopez told the paper, his departure puts baseball into perspective.
"I’m really appreciative of any young person who joins the military at a time like this, so I can coach baseball and live in a free country," Lopez said.
We’ve got a handful of notes to pass along from the state of South Carolina. First, at Clemson, two-sport recruit Kyle Parker has enrolled early and will play baseball for the Tigers this spring. Parker, a 6-foot-1, 190-pound catcher who ranked as the No. 232 prospect in the high school class of 2008, was also a standout quarterback at Bartram Trail High in Jacksonville, Fla. He will likely redshirt as a freshman for the football team, according to a note in this story from The (Columbia, S.C.) State, and his participation in spring football will depend upon how his role with the baseball team develops. Parker doesn’t figure to earn a lot of early playing time with catcher Doug Hogan back for his senior year, but he could be the Tigers’ catcher of the future. [...] Continue Reading »
Three Ohio University players are being investigated for gambling on sports, Bobcats coach Joe Carbone told the Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch yesterday. Only one player was named: senior pitcher Andrew Shisila, who went 2-3, 2.62 in 20 appearances for Ohio last year. Shisila was charged with accepting pro-sports wagers, and two other unnamed players are suspected of placing bets.
There is no evidence that the players bet on Ohio baseball or any other university program, and the father of former OU baseball player Brent DeCoster (who was charged with bookmaking) told the Dispatch the charges were overblown and involve "friendly" wagers of $10 or $20, including on a fantasy football league. Regardless, betting on sports–pro or college or otherwise–is very strictly forbidden by the NCAA, and the players will not play while the NCAA investigates.
As expected, the 35-man roster cap and 25 percent minimum scholarship requirement were upheld at this weekend’s NCAA convention in Nashville. Enough override requests were submitted by university presidents to force a vote on the issues at the convention, but five-eighths of the delegates needed to vote against the changes for them to be discarded. The minimum scholarship threshold override received just 30.3 percent of the vote, while the roster cap override garnered just 24.5 percent of the vote, meaning both rules will go into effect this summer.
The NCAA’s ban on text messaging during the recruiting process also survived the override process, as just 21.3 percent of the delegates supported that override. [...] Continue Reading »
I have already updated this in the feature we recently ran about Cal State Bakersfield’s fledgling program, but I wanted to point it out here on the blog as well. The Roadrunners are not yet affiliated with a conference, and while coach Bill Kernen expressed interest in joining the Big West, there has not been any vote on the issue and probably won’t be until late 2008 at the earliest. In addition, Big West associate information director Julie St. Cyr said this in an e-mail:
"The Big West Conference is not currently looking to expand on their nine-member
conference, thus there is no time frame for CSUB to join the conference."
I still think the Big West is a good fit for Bakersfield, but the Western Athletic Conference might be another option for the Roadrunners. There, CSUB would likely have a natural rivalry with Fresno State.
PHILADELPHIA–Aaron Fitt, Nathan Rode and I have come to the American Baseball Coaches Association convention this year, and Aaron and I went to the Division I coaches meeting last night, expecting there to be some fireworks.
It’s been a tumultuous year in college baseball, with radical changes to scholarships, roster sizes and the transfer rule. (Those details have been explained extensively on this blog all year by my colleague Mr. Fitt.) And the 2008 season also is the first of the new universal start date for college baseball, which has compacted the schedule for everyone, mandating a 56-game season in 13 weeks. [...] Continue Reading »
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