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Baseball late start examined


Baseball late start examined

This is an interesting article from the Palm Beach Post, found here

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FAU has 9 games in 10 days, wow.

Late start gets cool reception


Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Play ball?

Not just yet.

Because of an NCAA rule change aimed at creating parity between Northern schools and their Southern counterparts, the first ping of an aluminum bat won't be heard this season until Friday night.

That's three weeks after the University of Miami opened its season last year.

According to the new NCAA guidelines, teams were prohibited from beginning practice this season before Feb. 1 and cannot play a game until Friday.

The change was spearheaded by the Big Ten Conference and other Northern schools who argued they were at a competitive disadvantage because winter weather kept them from getting started at the same time as schools in warmer climates.

Not surprisingly, Southern schools aren't happy about the change.

"There's nothing I like about the new rules," UM coach Jim Morris said.

Morris isn't alone.

Coaches gripe that starting the season later will result in a larger, unintended consequence than any positive effect for northern-based schools.

College baseball will maintain a 56-game regular-season schedule, meaning teams will play five or six games a week instead of three or four. The NCAA rejected a proposal to push the College World Series back into July in order to extend the end of the regular season into June.

The condensed schedule will force Florida International to play 10 games in the first 11 days of the season. FAU faces nine games in 10 days.

More games - especially midweek games - in a shorter time span will translate into more missed classes, according to coaches.

Florida State, for instance, played seven midweek games in 2007 and none on back-to-back nights. This season, the Seminoles will play 14 midweek games with six sets of Tuesday-Wednesday games.

Coaches say the last thing needed by college baseball, which has been under fire from the NCAA for its low graduation rate, is more academic problems.

"Missed class time and a drag on academics will surface in areas that really weren't much of a problem," FAU coach Kevin Cooney said. "I just think this opens a Pandora's box."

Adds FIU coach Turtle Thomas: "The NCAA make rules without really putting reasoning behind their thought process."

Not everyone agrees.

Boston College coach Mik Aoki says Northern schools have dealt with the pitfalls of a tight schedule for decades. While Southern universities have traditionally started their seasons in mid- to late-January, schools like BC have waited until late February for opening day because of the weather.

Last season, Boston College didn't play a game until Feb. 23.

Despite that, the Eagles enjoy one of the best graduation rates in the country.

"For us, it's the same exact schedule we've always played," Aoki said. "While I understand it's an adjustment for a lot of the Southern schools, I don't have a whole heck of a lot of sympathy because this is something we've been putting up with 30, 40 or 50 years."

Beyond the effect the shortened schedule will have on academics, there is also disagreement on whether the new setup will really help Northern schools catch up with their Southern rivals.

Before Oregon State shocked the college baseball world by winning CWS titles in 2006 and 2007, a Northern-based school hadn't won the national championship since Ohio State in 1966.

"The problem is that (the new schedule format) is trying to bring the Southern schools down to meet the standards of the schools up North instead of trying to raise the standards of the schools up North," Morris said.

In Baseball America's 2008 pre-season poll, only No. 7 Oregon State and No. 8 Michigan are Northern schools.

"The bottom line is the Southern teams, the warm-weathered places, are still going to get the best players no matter what," said Thomas, a former longtime assistant at UM who is starting his first season as FIU's coach. "They're still going to be better, I don't care when you play."

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Re: Baseball late start examined

I can definitely see the advantages of teams in the south starting earlier, but if its not broke why fix it. This system has been in place for a while now and the fact is that North teams have gotten by fine, although not winning a national championship, but now they are making the teams in the south suffer. Missing all those classes is going to be a big drag on any student-athlete, lets not make the ones in the south join in the north suffering.

- Major sticking point for me is the Big Ten: these guys have way too much power over the NCAA in general. From creating their own network to preventing a true playoff type system in football to now baseball; that conference is on my bad side  >:( 
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Re: Baseball late start examined

how will the pitching rotation play into this many games in that time span...we arent that deep are we...do we have a five man rotation??
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