College baseball

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College Baseball game

College baseball is baseball that is played on the intercollegiate level at institutions of higher education. In comparison to football and basketball, college competition in the United States plays a smaller role in developing professional players, as baseball's professional minor leagues are more extensive, with a greater history of supplying players to the top professional league. Moving directly from high school to the professional level is more common in baseball than in football or basketball. However, if players do opt to enroll at a four-year college to play baseball, they must complete three years to regain professional eligibility, unless they reach age 21 before starting their third year of college. Players who enroll at junior colleges (i.e., two-year institutions) regain eligibility after one year at that level. In the 2020 season, abbreviated due to the coronavirus pandemic, there were 300 NCAA Division I teams in the United States (including schools transitioning from Division II to Division I).

Contents

As with most other U.S. intercollegiate sports, competitive college baseball is played under the auspices of either the NCAA, the NAIA, the NJCAA, or the CCCAA. The NCAA writes the rules of play, while each sanctioning body supervises season-ending tournaments. The final rounds of the NCAA Division I tournament is known as the College World Series (CWS); while each of the three levels of competition sanctioned by the NCAA holds a championship tournament, the "College World Series" branding is reserved strictly for the final round of the Division I tournament. The CWS takes place in Omaha, Nebraska in June, following the regular season. The playoff bracket for Division I consists of 64 teams, with four teams playing at each of 16 regional sites (in a double-elimination format). The 16 winners advance to the Super Regionals at eight sites, played head-to-head in a best-of-three series. The eight winners then advance to the CWS, a double-elimination tournament (actually two separate four-team brackets) to determine the two national finalists. The finalists play a best-of-three series to determine the Division I national champion. The most recent College World Series winner is Vanderbilt; the next NCAA tournament will not be until 2021 at the earliest.

History

The first intercollegiate baseball game took place in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, on July 1, 1859, between squads representing Amherst College and Williams College. Amherst won, 73–32. This game was one of the last played under an earlier version of the game known as "Massachusetts rules", which prevailed in New England until the "Knickerbocker Rules" (or "New York Rules") developed in the 1840s gradually became accepted. [1] The first ever nine-man team college baseball game under the Knickerbocker Rules still in use today was played in New York on November 3, 1859, between the Fordham Rose Hill Baseball Club of St. John's College (now Fordham University) against The College of St. Francis Xavier, now known as Xavier High School.

Recent growth

A map of all NCAA Division I baseball teams, using 2012 alignments Baseball d1.png
A map of all NCAA Division I baseball teams, using 2012 alignments

Traditionally, college baseball has been played in the early part of the year, with a relatively short schedule and during a time when cold (and/or rainy) weather hinders the ability for games to be played, particularly in the northern and midwestern parts of the U.S. These and other factors have historically led colleges and universities across the nation to effectively consider baseball a minor sport, both in scholarships as well as money and other points of emphasis.

College baseball has grown phenomenally in popularity since the 1980s, as coaches and athletic directors in warm-weather regions of the nation began to recognize the unrealized potential appeal of the sport. These coaches went out and aggressively recruited the sport to potential athletes, as well as made various upgrades to their programs; such as bigger and better stadiums, more money for staff and support salaries, and promotions.

As these efforts resulted in better players and overall programs, more television and print media coverage began to emerge. The ESPN family of networks greatly increased television coverage of the NCAA playoffs and the College World Series since 2003.

Soon, in many warm-weather regions, baseball came to be considered a major sport, approaching the level of football and basketball.[ citation needed ] And even non-warm weather schools started to recognize baseball's potential and began to put considerably more emphasis on it. Nebraska, Notre Dame, and Oregon State are three notable examples of cold (or rainy) weather schools with very successful programs. The first two made the College World Series when warm-weather schools placed major emphasis on baseball as well as had the advantage of playing earlier and more games because of favorable climates. Oregon State won back-to-back national championships in 2006 and 2007; at that time, archrival Oregon had been without baseball for a quarter-century, having dropped its program in 1981. Many credit the Beavers' success as a primary factor in the University of Oregon's later decision to revive baseball in 2009.[ citation needed ]

Before the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome was demolished in early 2014, Minnesota took advantage of it to play the majority of their games, including hosting a prestigious preseason tournament. With the 2010 departure of the MLB Minnesota Twins for the new Target Field, the school hoped to use the Metrodome for future Big Ten tournaments and bids on the NCAA tournament. Along with that, many smaller conferences (not in Division I) played games at the Metrodome during February in order to keep up with schools in warm-weather locations. While the Metrodome's replacement, U.S. Bank Stadium, was designed mainly for the NFL's Minnesota Vikings, it has movable seating banks that allow it to be configured for baseball.

For 2008 and succeeding seasons, the NCAA mandated the first ever start date for Division I baseball, thirteen weeks before the selection of the NCAA tournament field, which takes place on Memorial Day.[ citation needed ]

Collegiate rules

The rules of college baseball are similar to the Official Baseball Rules. Exceptions include the following:

Metal versus wood bat

Though a wood bat is legal in NCAA competition, players overwhelmingly prefer and use a metal bat. The metal bat was implemented in college baseball in 1975. [2] Use of a metal bat is somewhat controversial. Supporters of an aluminum or composite bat note that it can increase offensive performance, as the speed of a ball off a metal bat is generally faster than off a wood bat. Those against metal, and for wood, argue that a metal bat is not safe to use, and that a metal bat doesn't prepare players for the next level, as professional baseball uses a wood bat exclusively. In the 2011 season the NCAA changed the requirements for a metal bat, reducing the maximum allowed exit speed in a way that is said to produce a feeling more like a wood bat. [3] As a result, in 2011 there was a drop-off in overall "long" drives or home runs relative to past years. [4]

Draft process

All players resident in the U.S. and its territories, plus Canada, are eligible to be selected in Major League Baseball's Rule 4 Draft upon graduating from high school. However, once a player enrolls in a four-year college or university, he is not allowed to be drafted (or re-drafted) until completing three years of school or reaching age 21, whichever comes first. By contrast, players who enroll in junior colleges (i.e., two-year institutions) are eligible for selection at any time. The Rule 4 Draft of eligible college and high school players consists of 40 rounds. [5] Despite MLB's draft being considerably longer than that of the NFL or NBA, only about 9.1% of all NCAA senior baseball players are drafted by an MLB team. [6]

One of the biggest controversies with the draft and these amateur athletes is the use of agents. There have been many cases of college athletes consulting or hiring an agent prematurely in direct violation of NCAA rules. The NCAA came up with the "no agent rule" as a result of this, claiming it was to benefit the amateur athletes. The rule states that "[a]n individual shall be ineligible for participation in an intercollegiate sport if he or she has agreed (orally or in writing) to be represented by an agent for the purpose of marketing his or her athletics ability or reputation in that sport". [7] [8] Representation of an agent is considered to be any direct contact with the professional team during the contract negotiations. This contact can be made many different ways, whether through direct conversation, via mail or through the telephone. [9] This rule is strongly enforced by the NCAA and has harsh consequences if broken.

Recruitment process

The recruitment process is similar to that of the Major League Draft in that a high school athlete is taking the next step in his career. The NCAA places restrictions on the coaches that are trying to convince athletes to come play for them and attend their university. College baseball programs are only allowed to offer a limited number of scholarships each year, so the process of earning a scholarship is quite competitive. Baseball is classified by the NCAA as an "equivalency" sport, meaning that limits on athletic financial aid are set to the equivalent of a fixed number of full scholarships. Division I schools are allowed the equivalent of 11.7 full scholarships; [10] Division II schools, only 9.0. [11] Schools generally choose to award multiple partial scholarships rather than exclusively full scholarships. [12] In Division I, the NCAA also limits the total number of players receiving baseball-related financial aid to 27, [10] and also requires that each of these players receive athletic aid equal to at least 25% of a full scholarship. [13] The 25% rule does not apply to schools that offer aid based solely on financial need (most notably Ivy League members), [14] and also does not apply to a player in his final year of athletic eligibility who has not previously received athletically related aid in baseball at any college. [15] A long-standing official NCAA rules interpretation also allows schools to count aid that would otherwise be exempt by NCAA rule (such as purely academic awards) toward the 25% limit, as long as it also is included in the calculations for the team equivalency limit. [16]

Before September 1 of a potential college player's 11th grade year, it is illegal for a college program to give any kind of recruiting materials to the prospect. A phone call is not even permitted to the prospect until July 1 of the student's 11th grade year. [17] Once the player is committed to the school of his choice, he must sign his letter of intent during one of several signing periods. The early signing period for a Division I baseball player is between November 8 and 15; the late signing period dates for these players are April 11 to August 1. [17]

Substance policies

The substance policies for college baseball are very strict and set by the NCAA. There is a set list of substances a college baseball player is forbidden to put in his body, and there is severe punishment for those that defy it, whether it would be intentional or unintentional. There is a very long list of these substances, including alcohol, marijuana, anabolic steroids, and heroin, to name just a few. These substances fit into categories such as stimulants, anabolic steroids, diuretics, street drugs, hormones, anti-estrogens, and more. [18] Failure to pass scheduled or random drug tests can result in ineligibility. [19]

Attendance records

Top college baseball crowds of all time

RankAttendanceTeamsStadiumCityDateNote
140,106 [20] Houston at San Diego State Petco Park San Diego, California March 11, 2004First baseball game ever at Petco Park
236,056 [21] Louisiana Tech at Minnesota Target Field Minneapolis, Minnesota March 27, 2010First baseball game ever at Target Field
333,025 [22] Missouri at Georgia SunTrust Park Atlanta, Georgia April 8, 2017First baseball game ever at SunTrust Park, now known as Truist Park
430,553 [23] North Carolina vs. LSU Rosenblatt Stadium Omaha, Nebraska June 20, 2008 College World Series
5,630,355 [23] North Carolina vs. Cal State Fullerton
Oregon State vs. Rice
Rosenblatt Stadium Omaha, Nebraska June 21, 2006 College World Series
7,829,921 [23] North Carolina vs. Rice
Oregon State vs. UC Irvine
Rosenblatt Stadium Omaha, Nebraska June 21, 2006 College World Series
9,1029,034 [23] North Carolina vs. Louisville
Arizona State vs. UC Irvine
Rosenblatt Stadium Omaha, Nebraska June 19, 2007 College World Series

Top 25 on-campus college baseball crowds of all time

RankAttendanceTeamsStadiumCityDateNote
115,586 [24] Ole Miss at Mississippi State Dudy Noble Field Mississippi State, Mississippi April 12, 2014
215,078 [25] Texas A&M at Mississippi State Dudy Noble Field Mississippi State, Mississippi April 16, 2016
314,991 Florida at Mississippi State Dudy Noble Field Mississippi State, Mississippi April 22, 1989
414,562 Auburn at Mississippi State Dudy Noble Field Mississippi State, Mississippi April 20, 2013
514,556 LSU at Mississippi State Dudy Noble Field Mississippi State, Mississippi April 16, 1988
613,761 Arkansas at Mississippi State Dudy Noble Field Mississippi State, Mississippi April 25, 1992
713,742 [26] USC at Arkansas Baum Stadium Fayetteville, Arkansas March 3, 2018
813,715 Clemson at Mississippi State Dudy Noble Field Mississippi State, Mississippi June 9, 2007 NCAA Super Regionals
913,691 [27] Kentucky at Mississippi State Dudy Noble Field Mississippi State, Mississippi April 8, 2017
1013,617 Georgia at Mississippi State Dudy Noble Field Mississippi State, Mississippi April 8, 2006
1113,452 [28] Arizona at Mississippi State Dudy Noble Field Mississippi State, Mississippi June 11, 2016 NCAA Super Regionals
1213,324 Ole Miss at Mississippi State Dudy Noble Field Mississippi State, Mississippi April 11, 2014
1313,132 Stanford at Mississippi State Dudy Noble Field Mississippi State, Mississippi June 8, 2019 NCAA Super Regionals
1413,123 Ole Miss at Mississippi State Dudy Noble Field Mississippi State, Mississippi April 15, 2000
1513,004 [29] Florida at Mississippi State Dudy Noble Field Mississippi State, Mississippi April 18, 2015
1612,913 [30] Arizona at Mississippi State Dudy Noble Field Mississippi State, Mississippi June 10, 2016 NCAA Super Regionals
1712,844 Notre Dame at LSU Alex Box Stadium Baton Rouge, Louisiana February 16, 2018
1812,727 South Carolina at LSU Alex Box Stadium Baton Rouge, Louisiana April 27, 2013
1912,708 Auburn at Mississippi State Dudy Noble Field Mississippi State, Mississippi April 24, 1993
2012,620 Clemson at Mississippi State Dudy Noble Field Mississippi State, Mississippi June 8, 2007 NCAA Super Regionals
2112,589 [31] Mississippi State at Arkansas Baum Stadium Fayetteville, Arkansas April 25, 2015
2212,472 New Orleans at LSU Alex Box Stadium Baton Rouge, Louisiana February 14, 2014
2312,404 Louisiana–Monroe at LSU Alex Box Stadium Baton Rouge, Louisiana February 15, 2019
2412,360 Georgia at Mississippi State Dudy Noble Field Mississippi State, Mississippi April 6, 2002
2512,343 Auburn at Mississippi State Dudy Noble Field Mississippi State, Mississippi March 23, 2019

Longest game in college baseball history

The longest college baseball game was played between Texas and Boston College on May 30, 2009, during the NCAA Division I Baseball Championship regional tournament at Austin, Texas. Texas – which was designated the visiting team despite playing on its home field – won the game, 3–2, in 25 innings. The game lasted seven hours three minutes. [32] [33]

Video gaming

After losing its license for Major League Baseball, EA Sports released MVP 06 NCAA Baseball , the first college baseball video game. A second game, MVP 07: NCAA Baseball , was also released before the series was discontinued due to low sales. [34]

See also

Related Research Articles

National Collegiate Athletic Association American athletic organization

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is a nonprofit organization that regulates student athletes from 1,268 North American institutions and conferences. It also organizes the athletic programs of many colleges and universities in the United States and Canada, and helps more than 480,000 college student-athletes who compete annually in college sports. The organization is headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana.

NCAA Division I highest level of intercollegiate athletics sanctioned by the National Collegiate Athletic Association

NCAA Division I (D-I) is the highest level of intercollegiate athletics sanctioned by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) in the United States. D-I schools include the major collegiate athletic powers, with larger budgets, more elaborate facilities and more athletic scholarships than Divisions II and III as well as many smaller schools committed to the highest level of intercollegiate competition.

College basketball amateur basketball played by students of higher education institutions

College basketball today is governed by collegiate athletic bodies including the United States's National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), the United States Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA), the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA), and the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA). Governing bodies in Canada include U Sports and the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA). Each of these various organizations are subdivided into from one to three divisions based on the number and level of scholarships that may be provided to the athletes.

NCAA Division III Division of the National Collegiate Athletic Association

NCAA Division III (D-III) is a division of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) in the United States. D-III consists of athletic programs at colleges and universities that choose not to offer athletic scholarships to their student-athletes.

NCAA Division II Intermediate-level division of competition in college basketball

NCAA Division II (D-II) is an intermediate-level division of competition in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). It offers an alternative to both the larger and better-funded Division I and to the scholarship-free environment offered in Division III.

College athletics in the United States

College athletics in the United States or college sports in the United States refers primarily to sports and athletic competition organized and funded by institutions of tertiary education.

An athletic scholarship is a form of scholarship to attend a college or university or a private high school awarded to an individual based predominantly on his or her ability to play in a sport. Athletic scholarships are common in the United States, but in many countries they are rare or non-existent.

Bowl eligibility

Bowl eligibility in college football at the NCAA Division I FBS level is the standard through which teams become available for selection to participate in postseason bowl games. When a team achieves this state, it is described as "bowl-eligible".

College recruiting

In college athletics in the United States, recruiting is the process in which college coaches add prospective student athletes to their roster each off-season. This process typically culminates in a coach extending an athletic scholarship offer to a player who is about to be a junior in high school or higher. There are instances, mostly at lower division universities, where no athletic scholarship can be awarded and where the player pays for tuition, housing, and textbook costs out of pocket or from financial aid. During this recruiting process, schools must comply with rules that define who may be involved in the recruiting process, when recruiting may occur and the conditions under which recruiting may be conducted. Recruiting rules seek, as much as possible, to control intrusions into the lives of prospective student-athletes. The NCAA defines recruiting as “any solicitation of prospective student-athletes or their parents by an institutional staff member or by a representative of the institution’s athletics interests for the purpose of securing a prospective student-athlete’s enrollment and ultimate participation in the institution’s intercollegiate athletics program."

Mississippi State Bulldogs intercollegiate sports teams of Mississippi State University

Mississippi State Bulldogs is the name given to the athletic teams of Mississippi State University, in Starkville, Mississippi. The university is a founding member of the Southeastern Conference and competes in NCAA Division I.

Texas Longhorns baseball baseball team of the University of Texas

The Texas Longhorns baseball team represents The University of Texas at Austin in NCAA Division I intercollegiate men's baseball competition. The Longhorns currently compete in the Big 12 Conference.

Mississippi State Bulldogs baseball

The Mississippi State Bulldogs baseball team is the varsity intercollegiate baseball team representing Mississippi State University in NCAA Division I college baseball. The program is a member of the West Division of the Southeastern Conference (SEC). The current head coach is Chris Lemonis, who replaced interim head coach Gary Henderson. They have appeared in the College World Series 11 times, most recently in 2019. They earned their highest finish in their 2013 CWS appearance, losing in the finals to UCLA, finishing the season with a consensus No. 2 ranking, the highest in program history.

The NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), formerly known as Division I-A, is the top level of college football in the United States. The FBS is the most competitive subdivision of NCAA Division I, which itself consists of the largest and most competitive schools in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). As of 2018, there are 10 conferences and 130 schools in FBS.

Tulane Green Wave baseball

The Tulane Green Wave baseball team represents Tulane University in NCAA Division I college baseball. The Green Wave baseball team competes in the American Athletic Conference and play their home games on campus at Greer Field at Turchin Stadium. They are coached by head coach Travis Jewett.

Washington & Jefferson Presidents

The Washington & Jefferson Presidents are the intercollegiate athletic teams for Washington & Jefferson College. The name "Presidents" refers to the two presidential namesakes of the college: George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. W&J is a member of the Presidents' Athletic Conference, the Eastern College Athletic Conference, and play in Division III of the National Collegiate Athletic Association in both men's and women's varsity sports. During the 2005–2006 season, 34 percent of the student body played varsity-level athletics.

Minnesota State Mavericks Intercollegiate sports teams of Minnesota State University

The Minnesota State Mavericks are the college athletic teams of Minnesota State University, Mankato. More than 600 students participate each year in athletics for the university. Most of the university's athletic teams compete at the NCAA Division II level in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC). The men's and women's ice hockey teams compete at the Division I level in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA). Minnesota State began competition in the NSIC in 2008-09, due to the dissolution of the North Central Conference.

The Maryland Terrapins baseball team represents the University of Maryland in National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I college baseball competition. Along with the university's other athletic teams, the baseball team became a member of the Big Ten Conference during the 2014–15 academic year. The Terrapins compete in Shipley Field at Bob "Turtle" Smith Stadium on the Maryland campus in College Park, Maryland.

Fairfield Stags baseball baseball team of Fairfield University

The Fairfield Stags baseball team is the college baseball team representing Fairfield University located in Fairfield, Connecticut. Fairfield competes in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) of NCAA Division I and plays their home games at the Alumni Baseball Diamond on the campus of Fairfield University. The Stags were MAAC Champions in 1983, 1991, 1993 and 2016. Fairfield is currently coached by 3 time America East Coach of the Year and 2 time MAAC Coach of the Year Bill Currier.

The Southern Jaguars baseball team is a varsity intercollegiate athletic team of Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, United States. The team is a member of the Southwestern Athletic Conference, which is part of the National Collegiate Athletic Association's Division I. The team plays its home games at Lee–Hines Field in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Jake Mangum American baseball player

Jake Thomas Mangum is an American professional baseball outfielder in the New York Mets organization. He played college baseball for the Mississippi State Bulldogs.

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