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D3 baseball worth it?

worrywartworrywart Registered User Posts: 1,783 Senior Member
edited July 2008 in Parents Forum
I would love to hear anyone's experience with a son who plays division 3 baseball in college. What did he do to attract the coach's attention? How much of a recruitment process was there? Was it a "hook" to your son's college acceptance or would he have been a strong candidate regardless? Is there any scholarship money available for D3? What kind of time commitment does it require in the off-season and summers? Would your son do it all again or does it detract from his studies and social life? Thank you for anything you care to share.
Post edited by worrywart on

Replies to: D3 baseball worth it?

  • lderochilderochi Registered User Posts: 2,035 Senior Member
    I can answer a few questions. First, there is no athletic scholarship money at the D3 level. Other than that, there is a wide variety of answers to your questions depending on the school. Some schools are very agressive recruiters and play at a very high level of competition, whereas some others may have teams that are borderline club sport level. Some coaches can be very helpful in the admissions process and some negligible. You get the point -- it would probably be helpful to visit specific college's websites and look at the baseball team's section to get a feel. And I know others on this board will be helpful, as many of them are parents of recruited D3 athletes.
  • minimini Registered User Posts: 26,431 Senior Member
    "Is there any scholarship money available for D3?"

    This is technically true, and if you have no demonstrated aid, likely actually true as well. But beyond that, it's open season. Expected loan, summer earnings, and work-study expectations magically turn into scholarships. All of a sudden, you look "poorer" than the financial aid calculators would have indicated. This is especially true come April, when two schools trying to attract the same athlete, compete to see how poor they can consider you to be.

    But it really is up to the individual college, and often the individaul coach, and (in my limited experience), very, very few colleges will give you the straight scoop.
  • SBmomSBmom Registered User Posts: 5,725 Senior Member
    My daughter was recruited D3 athlete. lderochi is right. There is a huge range. There is no athletic scholarship money. (However, some D3s do give merit aid, and athletes get some of it.)

    Basically, the concept underlying D3 is the "scholar athlete"-- meaning scholar is put first. At D's school this means if you have a class or a lab that conflicts with practice, the coach will defer; academics do come first.

    D has about 2-3 hours a day of practice when in season, but D3 prohibits ALL non-season committments. You can't be made to practice, cross train-- nada. Obviously an athlete wants to keep tuned up, so many do train off season, but it is all voluntary. My D's coach cannot even WATCH any of the players have practice matches off season.

    Travel and practice during the season eat up quite a lot of time. It was difficult for D to balance everything as she is at a very challenging academic D3. However, she loves it! She loves the team, the intimacy, the competition.

    To attract coach attention, have your son (your SON, not you) contact coaches via email and phone. D3 schools do not have big recruitment budgets and tend to wind up with mostly athletes from their own region. If your son is qualified the coach may want to see a tape of him playing. If he is a junior (I assume) make sure to make the tape now, this season, as baseball is a spring sport this will be your last chance.

    We saw college D3 players who would have been creamed by the JVs at my daughter's HS, and also incredibly impressive college D3 players who were easily qualified (athletically) to play D1.

    Because the ability range of different teams is so great, you will first want to ask a few local coaches (his HS coach, club coach, or a local college coach) to help you guage his ability level-- what local teams might he be able to play for? Where have players like him from prior years, his HS, wound up? You could also go watch a few D3 games in your community, see for yourselves where he'd fit, and then based on how those teams are ranked, you can extrapolate the levels of other teams outside your area. Rankings are online on ncaa website.

    To attract coach attention, it can also be helpful to attend camps at the school, or in the region, that might interest your son.

    If you get a good match it will be a school he'd like with or without baseball, a school that is an academic fit, and a school where he'd be an asset to the team. So long as the coach has "pull" it will absolutely help in admissions. Again, pull varies by the school, the coach, and the focus of the program.

    Good luck!
  • worrywartworrywart Registered User Posts: 1,783 Senior Member
    SBMom, thank you for such thorough and well meant advice. It was very generous of you to take the time.
  • SBmomSBmom Registered User Posts: 5,725 Senior Member
    You are most welcome. And welcome to CC :)
  • MomofWildChildMomofWildChild Registered User Posts: 21,836 Senior Member
    There was a recent (past 6 weeks or so) article about DIII baseball recruiting which focused particularly on Haverford. It had some good insights. I believe there was a thread about it on this forum- can someone find a link?
  • lderochilderochi Registered User Posts: 2,035 Senior Member
    Also, one last thought -- I've noticed that some college websites include "contact a coach" links on the athletic portion of the site. Some of these links do nothing more than open up an e-mail to the athletic department, but some open up electronic forms that ask for name, weight, position, average, HS coaches contact info, etc. Might be a good way for your S to introduce himself.
  • worrywartworrywart Registered User Posts: 1,783 Senior Member
    Another good suggestion. Thank you. Do you think coaches have any interest in outfielders or do they focus all their energies on the infield?
  • GoBlueAlumMomGoBlueAlumMom Registered User Posts: 829 Member
    If you'd like a nationwide marketing blitz of your athlete, there's also collegiate scouting services you can hire that can be effective. They can save you a ton of time and lead you through the recruiting process. Some companies are much better than others so do a little homework before you sign with one. If the talent is there, they could help bump your son up to the D2 or even the D1AA level where scholarship money is available (if that's a goal). Coaches at those levels can be more influential with the preferred admissions process as well.
  • lderochilderochi Registered User Posts: 2,035 Senior Member
    Also, (well, I said above it was one last thought but I lied) have you considered "showcase camps"? Like the scouting services some are much better than others and some are pure scams. But the good ones put on summer camps for prospects that are attended by coaches and scouts at all levels. My son attended several Mickey Owen camps and really enjoyed them -- these were the regular camps, not the showcase camps -- but they seemed like a quality organization and I would guess that their showcases are legit and well attended.

    With respect to infield v. outfield, I don't think that's a huge distinction. My impression is that it all comes down to offense except for pitchers and (sometimes) catchers and shortstops. In other words, a weak hitter but a great outfielder will have a hard time competing in the recruitment game against a great hitter, no matter how bad of a fielder he is.
  • backhandgripbackhandgrip Registered User Posts: 1,498 Senior Member
    I can only tell you what worked for us.

    Print up a nice letter with all your son's academic and athletic stats. This includes SAT scores, GPA, rank, AP's and community service, sport information like clubs affilated with, camps, rankings- (do they have that in baseball?), awards, letters,- and photocopies of any newspaper articles about him. You can ever get your local newspaper to put an article in about your son by taking a few photos and writing one up yourself! Yes, I know this seems self serving but it does bring results and you will find both your son's coach and the local newspaper will want to help you. We divded the info into 3 catagories, academic info., U.S.T.A. info. and rankings, and varsity info.. Don't give up even if your son was injuried or not on varsaity all 4 years. He still may interest many colleges.

    Also, make a video if possible. So easy! Just take a camera to some games and trail him with it when he is up at bat.And have him give a nice intro on it. That way they can SEE him. So important!

    Next decide what type of college your son is interested in. With my child #3 he was interested in a large reserch university. My child #4 is interested in a Liberal Arts College with an education department.So go on the web to find the coaches of the type colleges you are interested in,their e-mail and address, and start mailing. If you cannot find a coach call or email the athletic director. Do all this in the off season for the coach. He will not be able to contact your son until July of the beginning of his senior year.But keep at it if no one calls during the summer. More letters, more colleges, during his senior year and...............voila! The phone calls start and believe me some college will be just the right fit! It happened to us! (But tennis, not baseball!)
  • patientpatient Registered User Posts: 1,458 Member
    Backhandgrip's detailed information is very good.

    My son is a sophomore and currently playing college baseball at a D1, and went through the recruiting process at both D1 and D3 schools. I know a bunch of D3 players. Feel free to PM me with questions and I can give you information about how all of them arrived at their schools.

    There is an outstanding high school baseball website that has TONS of information on all of these questions, plus discussions about individual schools, different recruiting approaches, etc.

    D3 baseball can be excellent. What's more, every year there are some D3 players drafted, as well as playing in the select summer collegiate leagues. The quality and intensity of play can vary all over the map so you have to know what kind of program it really is to know whether it will fit with your son's individual goals and ambitions.
  • dcmom3dcmom3 Registered User Posts: 217 Junior Member
    One cautionary note. My D and I visited a D3 school last spring and our tour guide said he was recruited to play baseball there "but that didn't work out." Since D was hoping to play a sport at that school, we asked him after the tour what happened. The coach had made all sorts of promises but then when he arrived on campus, he was advised to participate in fall baseball and there were 80 kids trying out. Of those, 40 made the fall team and then those 40 would have to try out for the spring/varsity team. He didn't become one of the 40, so he didn't even try out in the spring. I don't know whether the coach had previously seen him play or what (the kid was from Connecticut and the school is in Virginia) and the kid was basically resigned to the situation because now he was there, liked the school, etc.

    I have been warned about this phenomenon, of admissions offices who encourage coaches to encourage kids so they matriculate and then once they do, most will stay at the school (so Admissions wins!)

    We have had the opposite happen, where my D was interested in a small LAC that is 400 miles away, sent the coach a tape, came to watch one of their games (and they weren't very good, D could play there for sure) but the coach has made no effort or response. That team is mostly composed of athletes from the home state and I suppose that the coach is comfortable with her knowledge of the various local high schools' athletic programs so she just does what's easy and recruits locally. And also many D3 coaches are small scale operations and don't have the time to waste on kids who may not come.
  • patientpatient Registered User Posts: 1,458 Member
    That's a good point (dcmom3). You hear all kinds of stories at almost any school, and sometimes within a school you'll hear a bunch of different tales. One of the main things to know about the recruiting process from the outset is that you do have to be very careful once you're in conversation with coaches; be sure you get very clear responses from the coaches to your questions, especially if they are asking for any kind of a commitment to their program in exchange for admissions help; ask around, and even then don't rely too heavily on anything until your son has an admission letter in hand (and is in uniform :) ).
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