In a move that would marginalize Big Ten baseball and drive away gifted ballplayers, U of Minnesota coach John Anderson says his conference should play in the summer and skip the College World Series.
The rationale is clear: since Big Ten teams besides the winner of the conference tourney are rarely invited to the NCAA playoffs anyway, northern teams shouldn’t spend the money to compete on the traditional college-baseball calendar. Instead, Anderson argues the Big Ten should just play a summer schedule on its own. (Which, by the way, it is actually free to do under NCAA rules.)
“There were four SEC teams in the College World Series last year. We’re never going to catch those people,” he told AP. “The system works for them, and they’re not going to want to change it. People are going to criticize this idea, but we need to get people talking about it.”
Yeah, they will criticize it, because it’s a dumb idea, with a host of unintended side effects. For starters: if you’re a really good baseball player, you could a) go to a school that plays a traditional schedule and have a chance of playing both in the NCAA tournament and summer-collegiate ball, or b) play for a Big Ten school before small crowds in a virtually meaningless season, bypass the summer-collegiate experience and forget about your senior year because you’ll probably be drafted before the end of the season anyway.
We’re guessing the vast majority of really good college baseball players would choose B, with an immediate flight of talent from the conference. It would also pose problems for Penn State, which leases its ballpark to the State College Spikes (short season A; NY-Penn League) during the summer.
So give Anderson a small measure of honesty in bringing up the issue. But proposing a move to the summer for the Big Ten is such a nonstarter it’s probably not worthy of future consideration.
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