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NCAA Provides Clarity But Not Finality For Roster Management


The NCAA on Wednesday approved yet another blanket waiver for Division I Baseball that pertains to some of the roster management challenges facing the sport. The governing body extended a COVID-related blanket waiver that expands the roster size from 35 to 40, increases the numbers of players on scholarship from 27 to 32 and allows for 40 official visits, up from the previous number of 25.

The latest action by the NCAA is yet another example of the organization kicking the can down the road as it pertains to hardcoding roster management rules in college baseball. The waiver extension, however, does alleviate some concerns that head coaches have had the past couple of months about roster clarity for the 2024-25 academic calendar.

While this news is welcomed with open arms by many, the goal, at least from the perspective of the American Baseball Coaches Association, is to have a long-term roster management framework.

We detailed some of these items in our State of College Baseball piece from a couple of months ago, which you can read, here. But the essence of the story is that ABCA executive director Craig Keilitz prefers several prongs as part of the permanent roster management model.

He, along with most of the Division I coaches, like the idea of keeping a 40-man roster. Many coaches also agree with eliminating scholarship counters altogether. This would mean that if you have a 40-man roster, you theoretically can give scholarship money to all 40 guys as opposed to being relegated to 32 players. The final, and perhaps most controversial, prong of a permanent roster model is the elimination of the 25 percent scholarship minimum. That piece has the support of many Division I baseball coaches, but also has its fair share of critics as well.

“The roster news is certainly good news for college baseball,” one mid-major coach said. “As for some of the ideas being presented by the NCAA, I’m of the belief that I’m all for it. There are challenges, but there are plenty of ways you can make it all work.”

The ABCA was expected to conduct a new survey to coaches this fall with the hope being the results are received before the annual convention in Dallas in January, and thus, some of these issues could be further discussed on that platform.

Unfortunately, to some degree, coaches have time to hash this all out. Though the feeling earlier this fall was that the NCAA might decide to hardcode these rules in January 2024, the extension of this blanket waiver makes me feel otherwise. Perhaps, at least I hope, I’ll be wrong on that assumption.

The other important topic that college baseball’s power brokers are expected to tackle in the coming months is the current redshirt rule. In football, a student athlete can appear in four games without blowing a year of eligibility. However, in baseball, a player loses eligibility for a year if he throws a single pitch or has a single at bat. The only caveat would be if the player suffers a season-ending injury the first 25 percent of the season. Baseball is not alone with this frustration, as legendary Michigan State basketball coach Tom Izzo, earlier this week, questioned the difference between basketball and football’s redshirt rules.

Currently, student athletes can compete in 36% of the football season without burning a year of eligibility. Should the NCAA eventually make that equivalency the same for baseball that would mean that a baseball player could play in 20 games of a 56-game season and still not lose their eligibility.

For now, the big story of the day is the extension of the roster-related blanket waiver. It’s not hardcoded like many coaches want to see — at least, not yet — but it’s at least some clarity at a time when it’s needed the most.

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@nycdad posted:

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@Momball11 posted:

When would you recommend a parent subscribe to D1Baseball for the transfer portal data? My 2024 is going the juco route in the fall.

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@Momball11 posted:

When would you recommend a parent subscribe to D1Baseball for the transfer portal data? My 2024 is going the juco route in the fall.

There would be no reason for a parent to subscribe to D1 Baseball for the transfer portal data. The only reason to subscribe would be to get more coverage/information about whatever Kendall Rogers wants to put in print. Once your son is on campus at his JuCo your days of having all the information about his baseball decisions are over. He will tell you what he wants you to know about and probably not a lot more. He will be more influenced by his coaches and teammates than he will be by you. The best thing you can provide is support, and informational research when the time calls for it. How your son does in JuCo ball, and the relationships that he develops there, will dictate what happens next. It will benefit your son to keep his grades up, be observant, be realistic, and be a critical thinker. I recently found out that as a JuCo soph my son had multiple offers to 4 year schools that he never even told me about - because he had no interest in those schools. He let me know when he wanted my input. But he didn’t always want my input. I had to learn to ease up on the reigns and trust my son to come to me on the important things -and that worked well for us.

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