Former Miss. State Baseball Coach Ron Polk Assesses the Alabama Baseball Coaching Job [Audio]
As the search for a new baseball coach at Alabama nears the one week mark, one legendary SEC baseball coach weighed the positives and negatives facing the next head baseball coach at Alabama.
Former Mississippi State and Georgia baseball coach Ron Polk provided his thoughts on Mitch Gaspard, the handicaps that face the next coach at Alabama and the overall condition of college baseball.
One of the difficulties for NCAA Division I baseball teams is that they can only award 11.7 athletic scholarships to a roster of 35 total players including 27 scholarship players. Baseball programs can work around their allotted 11.7 scholarships through avenues like lottery scholarships, waiving of out-of-state tuition or endowed academic scholarships.
According to Polk, the newly renovated stadium could attract recruits that might not otherwise think of playing for the Crimson Tide, but one factor will be a major handicap for the next Alabama baseball coach.
“Basically, whoever gets the Alabama job is going to have 11.7 scholarships. You can’t get any higher. There’s no way you’re going to do it unless Alabama comes up with a lottery and provides all students who attend the University of Alabama, or Auburn or West Alabama tuition-free scholarships.” Polk said.
The legendary college baseball coach further emphasized how the baseball scholarship situation at Alabama puts them into a deeper hole compared to SEC schools from surrounding states.
“The coach at Alabama is going to have 11.7 (scholarships). Vanderbilt is going to have double that and it’s perfectly legal because they get tied in with the endowed scholarships. Mississippi State and Ole Miss can come into the state of Alabama and get out-of-state (tuition) waived. It’s creative financing and the lower your scholarship base, the tougher it gets, and 11.7 (scholarships) is as low as you can get with a roster of 35 (total players).” Polk said.
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