Proposed legislation that would allow colleges the option to add a third paid assistant to their Baseball coaching staff has been shot down by the NCAA’s Division 1 council.
For the past three years, the contentious proposal had been in a state of limbo, although roughly 85% of head coaches indicated they would support the rule change in a survey, it was never made fully clear whether or not the policy would get the attention it deserved from athletic directors and the NCAA.
Initially proposed by the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) in 2016 and fittingly sponsored by the SEC, the campaign to recognize the many unpaid volunteer coaches in College Baseball with appropriate compensation for their tenuous jobs, garnered almost universal support from fans and media alike.
The council that shot down the proposition was comprised of Athletic Directors from the conferences that compete in the sport. Although Directors from several influential schools in the sport voted in favor of the proposition, unfortunately, the bill did not pass.
It seems absurd that a proposition with such prevailing support from those involved and affected by it would be rejected in the fashion in which it was. Keep in mind, if put in place the policy would make it optional for schools to add a third assistant to their payroll, meaning that the several schools that can’t afford to pay for an extra staff member have no obligation to do so.
The fundamental principle behind this campaign was to recognize some of the hardest working, yet underappreciated individuals in the sports world.
Unlike in high-level College Football and Basketball where there are several coaches and assistant coaches making six figures, in the dugouts of College Baseball many members of all coaching staffs are not financially compensated for their time whatsoever.
These volunteer coaches make money in the offseason when they administer various workouts and prospect camps, as well as other third party baseball related sources. That said, it is not uncommon to see these individuals work ten or eleven hour days during the season considering new recruiting rules that mandate only coaches on the payroll may recruit off campus, meaning that presumably much of the day to day operation at most programs is orchestrated by these unpaid assistant coaches.
The only incentive to stay in the industry for these coaches would be an unrefined love for the game, and it is preposterous to suggest that schools should not make an attempt to support them financially especially considering the recent influx of money coming into College Baseball with the various Conference TV networks and ESPN+; it is without doubt that there is a considerate amount of high-major and particularly prosperous mid-major that could and would put a third assistant coach on payroll.
The NCAA really dropped the ball on this one, but that does not mean all hope is lost. As fans of the sport, we can continue to let our frustrations be known to the NCAA.
Don’t be afraid to email your school’s athletic director and ask them how they voted and why to let them know how the fans feel. But most importantly don’t get too discouraged, this is a dark spot in overall fruitful time for College Baseball and we should continue to enjoy the sport that brings us so much joy.