By: Andy Partin
So many kids have dreams of playing big-time Division I baseball but are relatively clueless on the process of getting there.
Something that many parents and players don’t understand is a Division I school can only have 35 players on their roster and only 27 players on scholarship. That means 8 players on their roster are considered “walk-ons.”
Before this roster and scholarship rule was implemented a few years ago many schools were bringing in 30 or more guys on campus every year. And they were coming on books only scholarships!
Today the minimum scholarship size is 25%. A fully funded Division I school only has 11.7 scholarships. Some schools have less. It’s hard enough to be competitive with 11.7; think how tough it must be with half of that!
A fully funded Division II baseball program has a max of 9 athletic scholarships. Division III college programs have 0 athletic scholarships, NAIA programs have 12 and the max a Junior College baseball program can have is 24 athletic scholarships.
The sad thing is football and basketball have enough athletic scholarships for their third-string guys to have full rides! A 50% scholarship in college baseball is a huge offer.
You hear all the time from baseball kids and parents they’re on a “full ride.” News flash – they are probably lying. College coaches have a very tough job trying to divide out their limited allotted scholarships while trying to put the best product on the field. I couldn’t imagine sinking 1 full scholarship in to only 1 player. If you do that, odds are your team won’t be very good.
I encourage kids and parents to set your ego aside and don’t be so greedy and for once put yourself in the college coach’s shoes. If you are only interested in who gives you the most money, odds are you are choosing that school for the wrong reasons anyway.
Baseball is a team sport in a sense. If you’re a shortstop and you take a full scholarship from a program, odds are you won’t have a very good pitching staff. Or your double play partner isn’t going to be very good.
Divide 27 players on scholarship by 11.7 and you can see full rides just don’t happen often.