The Michigan Braves have a storied history and reputation as a program that produces “grinders” for the next level, including the college ranks. Our coaches, advisory board members and friends of the organization have built relationships with coaching staffs and scouts at all levels of collegiate baseball across the country. While we know that the recruiting process can be a difficult and stressful time for players and families, the Michigan Braves are committed to doing everything possible to help make the situation easier and increase chances for players to play at the next level.
As players start on their journey to the next level, we have highlights some important facts that players and parents should know.
NCAA Division I schools are allowed to fund 11.7 scholarships across their entire roster. Scholarship monies can be divided and split up among players and a blending of athletic and academic scholarship funds is permissible. Full scholarships are incredibly rare, and some lower-tier Division I schools don’t fully fund all 11.7 scholarships.
At the Division II level, schools are permitted nine scholarships to divide among their players. Division III programs do not award athletic scholarships, but many schools do a very good job of finding academic aid and other funding for their players.
Considering playing at the NCAA level? Make sure to register with the NCAA Clearinghouse. Visit this link for more information: https://web3.ncaa.org/ecwr3/
NAIA schools are allowed to fund 12 scholarships across their roster of players, and additional blending of athletic and academic scholarship monies is permissible.
Considering playing at the NAIA level? Make sure to register with the NAIA Clearinghouse. Visit this link for more information: https://play.mynaia.org/
NJCAA Division I and Division II schools are permitted to fund 24 scholarships including tuition and books. At the Division I level, these scholarships also cover room and board and other fees. Blending athletic and academic scholarship monies is also permissible. NJCAA Division III schools do not award athletic scholarships.
Considering playing at the NJCAA level? Make sure to check out their compliance info page. Visit this link for more information: https://www.njcaa.org/eligibility/2020-21/index
What You Should Consider
A 50% college baseball scholarship at any level is considered a very good if not the best offer for college baseball. Be sure to ask what exactly the offer covers — tuition, room and board, books, student fees, etc. Most scholarship monies are delegated to “up the middle” players (pitchers, catchers, shortstops, second basemen and centerfielders) and two-way players generally receive the highest offers.
Take a proactive approach early in your athletic career and recruiting process, researching schools and programs that are an athletic and academic match for you. Players must register with the NCAA Clearinghouse at the completion of their junior year. Those forms are available online or from your high school guidance counselor (we provided a link above).
Most importantly, the first thing college coaches will look into is whether or not a player will be able to get into their school. If you don’t meet a school’s minimum academic requirements for admission, don’t expect to hear from that coach.
The recruiting process will require an open and honest appraisal of your skills and ability as a baseball player. It’s often easy to focus on the glamor of NCAA Division I athletics at the expense of a wider range of opportunities and playing time at other levels.
Contact With College Coaches
Colleges are permitted to write letters to prospects beginning Sept. 1 of their junior year of high school. Personal contact may begin taking place July 1 of a player’s junior year.
Players should begin any initial contact letters to college coaches by including the coach’s last name in the opening salutation. “Dear Coach Quinn,” for example — 95% of letters that simply begin “Dear Coach” will be thrown away.
Players should write handwritten letters and fill out any questionnaires sent by schools themselves. Coaches can tell if parents are the ones doing them. Even if you are not interested in a particular school that sends you a questionnaire, still fill out and return the information. Remember, coaches talk to other coaches!
Keep contact letters brief, as the longer they are the less likely they will be read. Don’t lie about any athletic abilities, accomplishments or academic standing and never contact coaches at their home or send them your application to their school.
Sending coaches highlight links to videos showcasing your skills can help, but aim to keep them around three minutes in length. Be certain to show throwing abilities from infield or outfield practice, several at-bats during competition and running the bases following a hit. Pitchers should show about one inning of work or roughly 15 pitches.
Players can make one official (paid) visit to no more than five NCAA institutions during only their senior year of high school. An unlimited number of unofficial (unpaid) visits may be made any time. If you are interested in attending a particular school, it’s smart to attend their summer or winter baseball camps if at all possible. Those events will give you the chance to see their campus firsthand as well as demonstrate your skills in front of the school’s coaching staff.
Other Criteria and Things to Consider
- Location and distance from home. Will you become homesick? Do your parents want to watch you play regularly?
- Your family’s financial situation. What is the cost to attend the schools you’re considering and how much scholarship money can they offer?
- Available playing time. Does the coaching staff give playing time to underclassmen? How many players at your position are already on the roster and what year are they?
- Are there offseason conditioning and training opportunities?
- What size of college do you want to attend? Is the school the right place for you outside of baseball?
- Do you like the coaching staff?
- What is the school’s academic reputation? Do they offer areas of study you’re interested in?
Get More Recruiting Tips
Check out our blog to get more tips on baseball recruiting.Blog