In the last two or three years it has become very common for NCAA Division I college baseball programs to "stockpile" incoming freshman and junior college transfer baseball signees.
Most college baseball programs do not use this method of recruiting -- but a select few do.
This practice is not illegal by NCAA rules. Oversigning (signing more players than your scholarship allowance) is not a violation until the monies have been spent.
Therefore it is possible to bring in players for the fall semester and "try" them out so to speak.
The problem comes before the spring semester when players are called into the coaches office and asked to take less money (considerably less at times) or are offered "the chance" to transfer to a junior college program.
Some coaches spin the idea of a juco transfer as a good opportunity. They work on selling the idea of playing time (at the juco) versus bench riding time (at the DI).
Keep in mind that big-time college sports are a business. Those one or two players that just had their heart's stepped on are not important in the total picture. Wins and losses are all that matter.
Here's a couple of examples from this years early signing period of November 8-15.
Two schools each with current (2001) rosters of 40 players signed 18 and 21 players respectively. One school has 8 seniors and 16 juniors on their roster, the other has 4 seniors and 11 juniors.
Let's say for the sake of argument that each school will lose 12 players from the current rosters. Add the new signees and the rosters will both be over 45 next year (2002 season).
Some schools have 2001 rosters that are already 45 players or larger.
How much playing time will each of those players really get? The fact of the matter is that the starters will receive almost all of the playing time. With the emphasis in college baseball being on the number of wins, the starters will even play during the mid-week games.
With the 4 hours per day and 20 hours per week NCAA rule in effect how much practice time will the "non-starters" receive? Will a non-starting pitcher even receive a quality bullpen, much less any time on the mound? How many "on field" batting practice at bats will a position player receive?
It seems that it would be difficult to show the coaches what you have if you are a "non-starting" player.
A "walk-on" player may not expect too much, only the opportunity to work hard and if lucky a chance to play. The hopes and aspirations are very different for the player that receives athletic scholarship money.
Who's to blame? In some cases it's the college coaches. Some schools try to hide or conceal the fact that they are recruiting huge numbers.
On the other hand high school players and their parents should accept some of the blame. Many families pay little attention to what's going on with the recruitment of their son. All they see is that "Big Time Baseball U." has made an offer to their son.
They never ask "how many players are you recruiting at my position?" "How many players are do you hope to sign this year?" All that matters to some players and families is that he will sign at Big Time U. and we will be the envy of our friends and peers.
This attitude or lack of knowledge makes the college baseball recruiters job an easy one.
Are all college coaches like this? Are the coaches at the schools that typically "stockpile" bad people? Of course not, coaches are only doing what it takes to win and in doing so -- keep their jobs.
Stockpiling is simply a sign of our times and the burden of responsibility ultimately falls back on the parents to make sure that their son does not make a mistake.
The College Coach's Side of the Story