29 May What You Need to Know About Playing College Baseball in the U.S.
Baseball has been one of the greatest American pastimes since it’s origins in Ohio in 1869. While the sport has taken hold of fans and athletes all over the world, there is nowhere better to play than in the good old U.S. of A. College baseball scholarships for international students are extremely competitive, however, we’ve got a few tips and tricks to make the process a little easier and to help you prepare.
Getting Started Playing Ball in the United States
College baseball is exceptionally competitive, with only eleven percent of high school players going on to play at the collegiate level. This makes it even harder for international students to get a baseball scholarship. However, more than 20,000 international athletes are competing at NCAA colleges, so if you’re dreaming of playing baseball in the United States at the Division I or Division II level, there are a few things you need to know to get started.
The first step to playing college baseball is to register with the NCAA Eligibility Center as soon as possible. The website will guide students and parents through the eligibility requirements for NCAA sports. You can also receive your amateurism and academic certification by submitting the requested documents through the NCAA Eligibility Center.
Keep in mind that less than two percent of college baseball players compete at the Division I level, and students who play pitcher, catcher, center field, or shortstop will be a priority for scholarships. Getting a full-ride scholarship is rare as scholarships are limited and the rules for eligibility are strict.
Eligibility Requirements for International Students
The best way to get a baseball scholarship in the U.S. is to ensure you focus on your academic standing. There are stringent requirements for all students, but international student requirements are a little different. All students must be high school graduates, have completed 16 NCAA-approved core-course credits, and have earned a GPA that complements your ACT or SAT scores. Division I and Division II requirements are different and more information can be found here. The NCAA website also offers a timeline for high school students to start planning beginning in 9th grade.
Students should keep in mind that there are 298 Division I baseball programs to apply to; however, each program is only allowed to offer 11.7 scholarships to be divided between 27 of the 35-player roster, leaving space for eight walk-ons who can earn a scholarship in the future. There are 259 Division II programs with nine scholarships available per team. Division II teams begin recruiting sooner than Division I and can usually offer more significant scholarships to individual students. Division III baseball teams do not offer athletic scholarships (academic scholarships may be provided), although there are 374 programs available.
Amateurism and College Baseball
College athletes can receive compensation for playing baseball. However, the amount is not allowed to be more than what is deemed to be necessary. Certain situations can impact whether a student-athlete has amateur status, including using recruiting agencies, taking a break between high school and college, receiving payment from a team for your participation, or accepting funds for training or prize money. Endorsing commercial products and using professional sports agents to advance your career can also impact amateur status. Student-athletes will need to provide the proper documentation to the NCAA Eligibility Center to receive their amateurism certificate.
Documentation Needed for NCAA Eligibility
The documentation needed for NCAA eligibility can be overwhelming, so students and parents should start gathering this information as soon as possible. You’ll need:
- All high school/secondary school academic records
- Proof of graduation
- SAT and/or ACT scores
Make sure to use your NCAA account with the Eligibility Center to ensure that you are turning in the appropriate documentation on time. You can track your progress, keep track of colleges you have applied to and create your player profile that coaches/recruiters can use to look up your information. If you’re passionate about playing baseball in the United States as an international student, you can find more information about USA University Sports Scholarships at Study and Play USA.