Understanding How Things Work
Academics are the Key
You should understand that virtually all scholarships going to student/athletes who play baseball are academic. Division I and II colleges award very few scholarships solely for baseball and coaches will often take the few they have and break them up into multiple partial offers. Consequently, the chances of you getting your education funded entirely on your baseball ability is just about zero. As a workaround, coaches look for players with high GPA’s, SAT’s etc who can also play at a high level. They then work with their academic departments and look for ways to garner academic scholarships and grants for these student/athletes. It’s all perfectly legal, above board and in your best interest to be aware of.
Don't Forget About Division III
While it’s true division III colleges do not offer athletic scholarships, they sure do offer academic scholarships. They also can provide you with an opportunity to continue your baseball career. Did you know that at this time there are 59 former division III players currently playing professional baseball. Included among those are major leaguers Joe Nathan, Padres OF Chris Denorfia, Mariners RP Charlie Furbush, Reds OF Chris Heisey, Nationals SP Jordan Zimmermann and more.
The Steps to Success
Create Your Online Profile
This would include having the professionals at My Baseball Profile shoot your skills video and also providing all your academic information, references, community service, etc. Download the Player Information Form to get an understanding of what information college coaches are looking for.
Select an Area of Study
As best you can, decide on a basic area of study you’d like to pursue in college. If you’re not quite sure at this time, it’s fine – the only reason it can be helpful is to narrow your choices of potential colleges.
While following these steps could potentially save you tens of thousands of dollars, there are no free lunches, so put on your research hat and get to work finding all the colleges that meet your criteria academically and geographically. After you have created your initial list (and it should be a robust one), look at each school’s baseball program and do your best to decide if you can play there and if you want to play there. Eliminate the schools that don’t fit in with what you want and you’ll have your “Action List.” A word of advice, don’t be too discriminating about the schools you choose initially. Often times it takes a deeper look to truly discover a programs worth.
The NCAA Eligibility Center (formerly The NCAA Clearing House)
In order for D-I or D-II coaches to correspond with you, you’ll need to register here http://web3.ncaa.org/ECWR2/NCAA_EMS/NCAA.jsp. For more information on this topic we recommend you visit http://www.athleticscholarships.net/ncaa-clearinghouse.htm.
Reach Out – Take your Action List and visit the websites for all the schools you have chosen. Find out their process for gaining consideration to be a member of their baseball team. Some ask that you fill out a prospective player form while others offer little information about how to get on a coaches radar. Either way, what you ultimately want is to send an email to the head coach and/or coach in charge of recruiting expressing your interest in attending their school. The purpose of your email should be to ask for an opportunity to be considered and to provide them a link to your online profile. It is here where they will see your skills video, academic information, etc. and determine if it is a good fit for them. Do this for each of the schools on your Action List and let the process take shape.