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We're trying to compile lists of target schools from NCAA Div I, II and III. Obviously there are many more D1 schools which have the academic programs my son is interested in (Athletic Training, Exercise Physiology) but we've also found some very nice D2 and D3 schools which have the same programs. My son just finished his soph year in High School. I guess my question concerning JUCO's is, should I be compiling lists of these schools too? Or is it something to worry about if D's 1, 2 or 3 don't work out? He wants to play college baseball and really has his sights set on a career in the fields mentioned earlier. Do JUCO's actively recruit, or just catch crumbs that fall by the wayside? I don't think he'd be opposed to two years at JUCO and then transferring to a higher division for his Junior year.
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Actually, it is the D 3's that "catch the crumbs" Juco baseball is as competitive as it gets and many jucos, especially in the south can beat or play with D 1's Junior College teams like San Jac, Southern Nevada, New Mexico JC and a lot of California schools can play with Texas, Rice, and those guys. You are really underestimating Junior Colleges but I was the same way when I was in high school, I just didn't know.
First of all JUCO baseball is not a "fav" thing in the Northeast but there is some great 2 year school baseball around the region

How are you son's grades to date?

Does it look like he will "cut it" academically at the DIII, II or I level?

If so I would concentrate on them for now in doing your research---

If you have more questions please feel free to phone me

Tom Rizzi
In our state (KY) there is only one JUCO that competes in baseball, however the TN and IL JUCO'S have been recruiting here pretty aggressively.

When my son started his college search we didn't even discuss junior colleges and didn't pursue any, but by decision time he had 3 nice offers from jucos. Even though he is a D-1 qualifier (which really doesn't take much, but opens up more possibilities for transfer later) he felt that the juco route would be a better fit for him in a lot of ways. Small classes, more individual attention academically, and the chance to play ball right away.
Catch, Like TopDogFan, we weren't considering JUCOs at all. My HS '05 had talked with and was recruited by several NAIA, DI, and DIIs. We weren't interested in JUCO at all. Primarily because we were ignorant of that route. However, after being called by a JUCO, he visited and signed with them. JUCO baseball has much to offer as had been said -in the form of excellent competition, transfer and draft possibilities more easily and sooner, and typically an easier transition academically. They certainly don't take "crumbs". Look on the roster of any large DI school. Typically you'll find many a JUCO transfer. JUCOs recruit just like any other school. The big difference is they, like NAIA, can "try-out" a player unlike DI.
Last edited by lafmom
In no way am I underestimating JUCO Baseball. All you have to do is look at how many kids are drafted from those schools each June to know how competitive it is. And being able to give 24 scholarships as opposed to 11.7 in D1 is very attractive. Tom, in 8 marking periods through 9th and 10th grades my son has achieved honors (avg 85.0) 3 times and high honors (avg 90.0) 4 times. The only time he didn't achieve either was his first grading period in the 9th grade. It was his first ever report card because he was home-schooled up until then. Thanks for the advice and the invitation to phone you. Don't be surprised if I take you up on that. My son was on the Varsity squad this year for the Massachusetts Division 3 State Champs but played sparingly behind the starting catcher, a Senior and team captain. He also played a little 2nd base. Still it was a great experience for him to be part of a championship team and to play for a fantastic coach who's told him that next season he "won't come off the field". Thanks again.
I had similar questions about the JUCO's and am I understanding that your experience is that the JUCO's find you? I looked at a few my son was interested in and couldn't find any that offered camps as a way to be "seen". Should my son inform the JUCO coaches he is interested in their program and give them his summer schedule? Thanks for all the info!
They did in my son's case. He went to a couple showcases over the winter where he was seen and received calls afterwards. But it wouldn't be a bad idea to let them know of his interest if there are particular ones he might like. I have seen on some of the websites where there is actually a form that can be submitted over the web, but I think personal contact might be better.

The jucos and NAIA schools have a whole lot more flexibility in their rules than NCAA schools. My son actually went on one visit where he was able to workout indoors with the team in their offseason and throw with one of their catchers in the pen. It was a great way to meet the players and get a feel for the coaches interaction with their team, without the formal setting of a 'camp'.
NRP Mom, Treat JUCOs just like you would any other school. They call kids they are interested in just as a NCAA or NAIA school. My son was called by his JUCO after being referred by a retired college coach. Many of the schools that called him did so from the referral of a coach or scout. However, if there are JUCOs your son is interested in, have him approach them just as he would any other school. I agree with TopDogFan - calling is the way to go. That's one thing that my son should have done more of. Send them schedules and communicate so they know of interest. Please feel free to PM me if I can help in any way.
Last edited by lafmom
My son chose a JUCO after being recruited by DI, DIII, and NAIA. The deciding factors were proximity to home (wanted to get away the players he's always played with and against, but not too far away from home), housing, and most importantly playing time.

We had not been considering JUCOs and knew very little about them. We have since found that there is A LOT of very competitive baseball out there.

Things we learned along the way:

1) NJCAA JUCOs are categorized as DI, DII, and DIII. As with 4-year schools, the difference between the rankings is not necessarily talent -- it's the number of sports the school supports and the amount of scholarship they are allowed to give.

2) Just because the rules say a school is permitted to provide X amount of scholarship doesn't mean they will. Many do not fund the full allotment. This is true of 4-year schools as well.

3) Many JUCOs do not provide housing.

4) The school my son chose participates in a real fall league. It wasn't just intra-squad and scrimmage.

5) It's HARD to go to school and play baseball. The time and energy commitments are ridiculous no matter what "level" of school you attend.

The coaches who recruited my son did so based on recommendations from other coaches and scouts who had seen him. This proved to me that, yes, coaches do talk to each other.

JUCO ended up being the right choice for my son. He loves the coaches (who hooked him up with an out-of-state collegiate summer league) and his team, which is competitive.

Good luck!
I had similar questions about the JUCO's and am I understanding that your experience is that the JUCO's find you?

NRPMom, If your son plays on a fall showcase team from DFW (Mustangs, DBAT, Marshalls, Tigers, etc...) then he will beseen by the area JUCOs. They play weekend games in front of several college scouts/coaches thru the fall at D1 & JUCO campuses.
Choosing the right college baseball program can be very difficult, especially in parts of the country which are not heavely recruited.

Last year from the Milwaukee area we had 4 true D-1 players. 2 went D1 and 2 went JUCO. Of the 4 only 1 is returning to his original school.

Player 1 chose an Illinios Div 1 school and passed up a Florida JUCO... he ended up with a medical redshirt, but ended up flunking out and appears to be finished playing baseball. Academically he should have chosen the JUCO to help transition to college.

Player 2 chose a ranked JUCO in SC, needed surgery was redhirted and is now transferring to an ILL Div 1. He didn't like the small town JC atmosphere and is looking forward to the Div 1 lifestyle.

Player 3 chose a SouthWestern Division 1 program over CLemson. He got over 200 ABs, hit over .325 as the regular DH. He had the opportunity to compete against several top 10 teams. He's transferring to a Florida JUCO to give him a better opportunity to play a defensive position and more importantly an additional chance to be drafted and chase his dream.

Player 4 passed up a DIV 1 program in NC and chose a Florida JUCO where he started 50 games, was one of the top 20 hitters in the state (lead the conference). Academically he would have struggled at Div 1. He's returning to the Florida JUCO.

Why choose the JUCO...
* High School grades are only average
* Chance to be drafted
* Better chance to start as a freshman
* More baseball (in Fall)

Why not chose the JUCO...
* No glamour of the Div 1
* Might not be challenging for a top student
* Some JUCOs carry very large rosters
* Less perks; free equipment, clothing, air travel, top hotels

word of advise... Many times what you see of a coach during the recruiting process will not be what you get once you get there...

Good Luck
Steve, Good post. I think your analysis is right on target with the pros and cons. My own son is going JUCO and we considered all of the reasons you posted. The "glamour" of any program is not important to him at this point. Although, he's a NCAA qualifier, he was a very average student. I know my son and I felt a smaller atmosphere with good academic support was what was needed to help him transition into college. He also didn't want to sit as a freshman. I think JUCO baseball is a very good option for many good players - it's just not a route that we as parents are as familiar with.
Thanks for all the great responses to my JUCO question folks. Another thing we are running into is that we can't find many (any?)JUCO's that offer academic programs my son wants to pursue. He's very interested in a career in the kinesiology/exercise science/athletic training fields but haven't found anything on JUCO websites other than tracks that lead to being a nurse, P.E. teacher, physical therapy assistant, ect...Is there any hope finding a fit at a JUCO?
catchrsdad, Transferring of credits is a concern when attending a JUCO. My son heads off this fall and by the research I've done, he may have to find a "close" fit. Also, much depends if your son is a qualifier and only plans on staying one year - of course he may go in with this plan and change his mind.

Find a JUCO that your son likes and talk to the academic advisor there. The one at my son's school has been very helpful. He's planning on secondary education, so we're taking courses that can be used for that degree, although they don't have an actual secondary ed program. The challenge is also at looking ahead to transferring credits as you don't know for sure where they will go to 4 year, so it is complicated!

So, again if interested in JUCO, I'd go on with recruiting process, when receiving offer, talk with the academic advisor there to see what they recommend as far as his options.
lafmom touched on it slightly. If you are going to a JC, you need to still register with the NCAA Clearinghouse. It doesn't effect your playing JC, but could have a major effect on your transfer status. A freshman who has been cleared by the Clearinghouse can transfer after 1 year, plus he does not need as many transferable units to tranfer after his sophmore year at JC.
This may be controversial for some here, but don't forget about the military academies. They have ROTC programs that will pay for your son's education. Prepare him to attend a USMA, or USNA through a military JUCO college which will offer your son a chance to become a commissioned officer, with the rank of first lieutenant at graduation. However it does require a 2 year active duty commitment with a 4 year reserve status thereafter in the any of the three main branches of the armed services through the National Guard. Which means fulfilling that commitment 1 week-end per month, and three weeks during the summer.

Being in the reserves thereafter is not a bad deal except he might end up in IRAQ if in the Army, but depends which branch ie..Navy, Air Force, etc.

Just for your information. The US Navy has a baseball program which is home based in San Diego
Our son is going to a D1 JUCO in Kansas,we live in Arkansas. He had 3.5 GPA in high school but only a 21 on ACT, not a great student but was NCAA qualified. I was worried about the college credits being transferred. We went to a local four year univesity and had them look at the classes offered for the JUCO in Kansas. They made a file for him and told us exactly what classes would transfer and which classes to take. They were very helpful and we feel a lot better now about the "academic side" of the JUCO route. Not all colleges would do this but it might be worth a try clap
Seems like Jucos just only offer the specific academic majors that culminate in a 2 year degree. His area of interest that you mentioned is probably found with the PE department, and don't forget that many academic programs are called 'transfer' degrees. Could be an Assoc. of Arts degree, could be an Associates of General Studies -whatever. It is a terrific block to transfer to a 4 year. But htere would have to be a commitment to stay at that particulkar juco for 2years. My kid graduated from juco this last May and is transferring this month as an incoming junior to concentrate in his degree studies. Hope this makes sense, I used a lot of words to stress the importance, or validity of a general studies assoc. degree.
Your Basic Mom - You are absolutely correct. If my son stays at JUCO for two years, that's exactly what he would have - a general studies degree or an Associate in Arts and Sciences.

Lawdog Mom - That's a great idea, especially if you know where you want to go. The challenge comes in that four year schools all have such varied requirements and some may take some transfer classes and others may not. My son, for example, has no exact plan for where he'll go in a year or two. He's also not 100% sure of his major. Some four year schools do a better job than others in helping JUCO kids find career paths where their classes will transfer and that meet their other needs as well. That's one of the "cons" of going JUCO.
One thing I would like to add is that selecting a JUCO should be done as carefully as selecting a 4 year program. Two JUCO programs can be as different as day and night.

Some JUCO programs recruit top players and are very competitive to sign with. Others are a whole lot less selective. The same can be said for the academic end.

JUCO is not just an alternative to D1,11, or 111. It is a route that requires just as much research.

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