The Courier

The student news site of The Delbarton School

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Recruitment Changes in Youth Baseball Might Improve College Baseball


In May of 2023, the NCAA Division I Council altered the recruiting rules in the most significant NCAA rule change baseball fans have seen in years. Beginning on May 16th, 2023, student-athletes can not initiate conversations with college coaches or receive offers before August 1st of their rising junior year. In addition, college coaches now must ask the student-athlete’s age before continuing with a phone call. 

Though some players are unhappy about this, the rule limits the number of “verbal commit” recruits since the NCAA does not allow official signing until a player’s senior year of high school. The NCAA’s new regulation will dramatically decrease the number of decommitments and recommitments in the college baseball world. Scouts no longer have to gamble on the best 8th graders before another powerhouse recruits them first. Instead, athletes can continue to work on their skill sets and perform for college coaches when they are more developed: just before junior year in high school.

The NCAA also looks to improve the “student” part of “student-athlete” of the regulations by helping students stay focused on academics for more time before transitioning their interest into college baseball. There have been many reports of depression and even suicide in the college baseball world due to student-athletes committing to prestigious universities to play sports but then being decommitted due to a plateau in their talent, development or injury. Thankfully, the NCAA’s understanding of the stressful recruitment process led to a change in the rule which will help players round out their numbers before trying to impress a coach in middle school.

It is worth noting that student-athletes can still email coaches and reach out to show their interest, but the NCAA limits the coaches’ response. Thanks to NCAA baseball, potential recruits can begin making a track record for themselves academically and athletically to back up their skills with numbers in and out of the classroom. The NCAA is no longer making 14-year-olds feel like they must make the most meaningful decision of their lives and commit to moving away from home to play baseball in four years, which will increase happiness levels among young players and may likely decrease injury. Part of the old recruiting process included very young athletes throwing and pitching as hard as possible to impress college coaches at every showcase they attended, which led to increased injury. Lastly, the rule promotes less travel for young athletes than coaches once demanded. Athletes no longer have to miss class and get on a plane every week to fly to the next showcase or tournament, and they can live in private for a few more years of their life. 

Overall, NCAA Baseball’s new rule is helping promote a more peaceful and achievable recruiting process for young athletes who dream of playing on a big stage one day. They are helping these individuals accomplish their goals, but slowly, one step at a time.

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About the Contributor
Michael Barravecchio, Sports Editor