Baseball vs. School Academic Status

<p>My son is a high schoo Senior and not being highly recruited, though he is a very good baseball player. All of you who are worried about Ivies can leave now because he is a 3.3 to 3.4 GPA student, albeit at a relatively tough private high school. He loves baseball and wants to play in college.</p>

<p>Here are 6 key schools on his list:</p>

<p>Gonzaga, Univ of Iowa - both would be good to very good academically and he would have an outside shot at being a baseball walk-on - he attended baseball camps at both. However, there may not be a chance to play baseball, so that means either D2 or D3.</p>

<p>Whitworth, Linfield - both are very good academically, but a bit pricey - but still seem like schools where you would get a very good education as well as have an opportunity to play and improve at baseball.</p>

<p>Hawaii Pacific - D2 - not a great academic reputation - but the coach met with us and is a high school vice principal who really emphasizes academics and even rewards players with scholarship money based on that as much as on-field performance. And the cost is pretty reasonable.</p>

<p>My son was pretty impressed with HPU, despite its downtown campus and lack of dorms. It might be a really good chance for him to improve at baseball and really feel good about all the effort he has put in - maybe play pro (who knows - why give up the dream?) or at least coach in the sport. It's less expensive than other schools. It's in frickin Hawaii - who wouldn't love that? And I think he would focus on academics there just because I can tell the coach runs a tight ship and my son would probably do well in his environment.</p>

<p>But I went to Illinois Wesleyan and ran XC there and my daughter goes to Wheaton MA and runs XC there and I guess I can't get past being a bit of a degree snob (ok - you Ivy Leaguers can laugh it up if you want.) And HPU - well, if my son did well there academically, would that make his degree more 'worth it'?</p>

<p>Just throwing this out there: I've heard Hawaii is a really expensive place to live. If the school has no dorms, is the cost of rent going to more than make up for the lower tuition? </p>

<p>You're probably right about the DI schools. Not much chance that walk-on gets to play at U of I, even if he did make the team.</p>

<p>There are a lot of good academic schools that have club baseball. They even have a world series. Title IX has killed a lot of NCAA baseball programs, but there are many good club programs (check out Colgate). Your son can play for his school, it just won't be NCAA.</p>

<p>It may be time for a dose of reality. He's not being highly recruited by colleges. It's time to stop dreaming about playing professional baseball.</p>

<p>Pick a D3 school in the states that fits his academic stats and ability. Make sure it offers a wide variety of majors and minors for him to explore. See which of these schools have Club level baseball. He could also attempt to play as a walk on at the D3 level. It's time for him to realize that baseball should be looked at as a fun outlet for him but not a career path to focus on.</p>

<p>Don't pick a school based on its baseball program---unless he's being actively recruited by D1 or D2 schools.</p>

<p>Some students who attend Hawaii can feel very isolated. Unless he has a lot of money and time to fly to the mainland, he could feel stuck on an island. </p>

<p>Does he want to play baseball more than focus on academics? He could play for a community college. There's a local guy who earned a scholarship to an top tier school after spending two years in cc. As a high schooler, he was a B student who wanted to play ball first. Then he discovered his passion for engineering.</p>

<p>My D is hoping to play her sport in college but we are suggesting that she focus on getting into the best college for her academically. If she were to get injured, it is our hope she would still be happy to be at the school she chose.</p>

<p>^very good advice</p>

<p>Iowa has club baseball.</p>

<p>Besides baseball and coaching, does your S have any specific career aspirations? I would suggest finding out something about their career services office and if there are recent graduates workig in the field(s) he's interested in.</p>

<p>My advice is different from the others on this thread so far. If he really likes HPU, and you think he will make the most of the educational opportunities there....and he can get some $$$...go for it.</p>

<p>The comments on the Div I Club baseball make a lot of sense - that might be a good alternative route for him to stay active with it and still enjoy the experience of a Div I and a bit better education than at Div II.</p>

<p>I think the point on not getting much playing time at DI even if you get there as a walkon is a good one.</p>

<p>Saying someone should go to a Div III school and look for a 'club team' there is completely idiotic. Teams don't have roster limits at Div III schools and most any decent player gets some type of chance. There is no such thing as a 'walkon' at Division III - everyone is a walkon. Some of them even have JV teams.</p>

<p>Excuse my "idiotic" mistake in wording. I meant to type--"See which schools have Club level baseball." </p>

<p>Look at Club level programs or D3. Quite a few of the kids in our area that have been recruited to play at the D1 level in their sport quickly became disillusioned and transferred to D2 schools.</p>

<p>what does your son want?</p>

<p>Thank you to everyone for the input. I realize people are trying to help and it is appreciated. Apologies for short-tempered terms. </p>

<p>The point about making sure you are at a school that you would be happy with if there wasn't baseball is a good one. But my son would probably be happiest at a Division 1 school if he didn't play baseball - but he wants to play baseball in college and that IS realistic for him, so Div 1 may not be the best combination of things.</p>

<p>I can tell you more about HPU, but basically the cost is no more than most places room&board through some programs they have. One thing that was great on our tour there is the Career Services director was part of it and he seemed to really have his act together.</p>

<p>Academics come first, but there are other things in life, too. Pursuing one's dream is sometimes as important as achieving it. The more I think about it, the more I think that if my son really wants to go somewhere, that might really push him to do well academically as well as in his sport. A 3.8 GPA at HPU is probably better than a 2.8 GPA from some D3 where you ended up because Mom&Dad pushed you there.</p>

<p>BTW, 22 Division III players were taken in the MLB draft this year and will be pro (not MLB necessarily) baseball players. Albert Pujols was taken in the 21st round - usually the guys who end up out of pro ball after a year or two. Watch 'The Rookie' sometime. Reality is tough - but it's even tougher when you crush the passion of a 17 year old kid who still is willing to work hard to improve at something that may, granted, be a very, very long shot. Reminds me of Fred Astaire's review: 'Can't sing, can't act, can dance a little.'</p>

<p>My D played D1 soccer as a walk on. She took pains to be in tip top shape for preseason(went to a camp in Florida for a month) and she made the team as a FR and started, played a little soph year, hardly at all Jr year and quit for club Jr year. She would have been a four year starter at D3, but D1 was a better fit for her academically. She told us "I'm not majoring in soccer". My point is she focused on the academics and fit first. It is so competitive now with many of the athletes hiring private trainers for the summer season, sometimes the upperclassmen don't come back in the best shape after actually working over the summer instead of playing in tournaments and lose their spot to incoming freshmen.
My S has 2 friends who play baseball and who hope to play in college, they have spent huge sums of money in the offseason to go to showcases to be seen by D1 coaches. Baseball at HYP is incredibly competitive.</p>

<p>Oh I'm sorry you said HPU, my bad.</p>

<p>Thanks - good thoughts from almost all - D1 does seem like a tough road. It will probably come down to a Div III or Hawaii Pacific for us - I guess my main question is whether HPU is worth it and I think I answered it for myself - both after seeing the positive and negative opinions. And I think the answer is if that is what our son really wants to do and he is committed to doing well academically there, then why not? If it isn't Harvard, Yale, or Princeton who really looks at where your undergrad degree is from anyway? Heck, half the people I interview for jobs are from overseas and I have no idea how good their schools were, but I can figure out pretty quickly if they know what BLUE means in stats and whether or not they know what to do about heteroscedasticity - So it really comes down to what you learn.</p>

<p>We have two good friends who both have sons that sound like yours. Both boys desperately wanted to continue playing baseball after high school, neither was D I material. Both boys were really good, strong students and ended up at expensive D III schools. Neither played much freshmen year, and for one family, the financial strain was simply to much and he returned home to our state's flagship and is playing rec baseball.</p>

<p>Have you sat down and talked with his high school or summer baseball league coaches to see if they have put out some feelers for your son? Many times, they have excellent contacts and can help a student athlete find the perfect match. For example, I know of one former student who got his offer to play at the U. of Maryland, thanks to all the exposure he got at summer baseball tournaments.</p>

<p>At the same time, your son could help himself with his recruiting. Has he registered with the NCAA Clearing House? Does he have a baseball/athletic resume? Does he have a highlight CD that he could share with college coaches?</p>

<p>I know that I am posing lots of questions. My husband is in professional baseball. He has worked with 18-year-old kids right out of high school as well as guys in the Hall of Fame. I know that he would agreed that your son should not worry about D1, D2, D3 or NAIA. The academic fit should be the priority. Does your son know what he wants to study? It would be sad if he made a decision based on the chance to play college sports and give him a major that most interests him. </p>

<p>Keep this also in mind, and it's not easy to say. While a college can offer something nice to land a kid, it does not have to keep him all four years. We have a good friend who coached at the D1 level. He once told me that he knew after seeing a kid play for two years if he could cut it with his team. If he couldn't, he would take the young man aside, explain that he appreciated his services and offered to release him from his scholarship to go elsewhere. He even helped the kid find another school where he would fit in. </p>

<p>I wish your son the best of luck.</p>

<p>Some DIII schools have more than "walk-ons". Some will guarantee a kid a spot, though likely not playing time. You say they have no roster limits, but they certainly have limits on how many travel.</p>

<p>Just looking at Linfield's stats reveals that ~half of the 31 position players didn't even get in 20% of the games, and many got in none of the 50 games played last season.</p>

<p>Looking at the pitchers, many rarely pitched.</p>

<p>JV might be 4-5 games a season.</p>

<p>My concern about HPU is that you are basing a lot on the coach. Coaches leave. Things happen. I wouldn't want my kid to take that chance and be stuck in Hawaii (granted- worse places to be.....) with a baseball program that wasn't what he expected.
Make sure you use the test of "would I still want to go to that school if I couldn't play my sport?"</p>

<p>A college without dorms is going to be a commuter college. No way would I send my kid all that distance to a college without a strong sense of community. I really think you are making a big mistake! Have him apply to a range of colleges that have the academic programs that he wants (it's college, not baseball university!), and wait to make the final decision until he has some acceptances in hand.</p>