If you don’t have the size or skills to play in the College World Series, you may think you can’t play college baseball. You may not know it but about 98 percent of high school baseball players are in the same position as you. Of all the high school baseball players in the U.S., less than 1 percent get a scholarship to a D1 school each year.
Yes, D1 baseball is the highest level of college baseball, gets the most attention, and includes many future major leaguers: but, making it to D1 out of high school is not the end-all-be-all of your baseball career. You have a lot of other playing options to pursue, and your dreams of earning that D1 scholarship may not be over. Junior (also called Community) college is a great way to grow as a player and prove that you have what it takes to play D1. Division 3 baseball offers opportunities of all kinds to players of all levels. Division 2 also offers competitive baseball across the country. So, before you give up on your college baseball dreams, let’s take a closer look at some of the myths about non-D1 schools, and see if you can’t find some opportunities where you will be just as happy, if not happier.
Myth #1: There is no good college baseball outside of D1.
Truth: Every division of NCAA baseball offers quality baseball. Would you believe me if I told you that there are some D3 schools that compete against D1 schools regularly and even beat them? It’s true. Some junior college baseball, NAIA, and D2 baseball can also be competitive with D1 quality. While JC, D2, and D3 may not be as high a level on the whole, great baseball can be played at all levels.
Myth #2: You can’t get any baseball-related financial assistance from Non-D1 programs.
Truth: You can get financial packages for all levels of college baseball. While D3 schools don’t offer athletic scholarships, many coaches can come up with creative ways to get their players other financial packages to help them pay for school. Athletic scholarships are also available to certain levels of JC ball as well as D2 ball. In addition to athletic scholarships, there are many other types of scholarships that students can apply for, and all students should file for financial aid by filing a FAFSA form. You can find out about that here.
Myth #3: There is no way to make it to the next level if you play for a Non-D1 school.
Truth: Players from all levels of college baseball have and do get selected in the MLB draft. Many players from lesser known schools and programs of all levels continue to play baseball professionally after they finish school, either in independent leagues (professional teams that are not affiliated with a major league organization) or abroad. In fact, some of today’s best MLB players came from levels other than D1, including Albert Pujols (JC), Mark Buehrle (JC), and even some former notables like New York Yankees Scott Brosius (D3) and Tino Martinez (D2).
Myth #4: If you don’t get a D1 scholarship, no one will be interested in you as a college baseball player.
Truth: This simply isn’t true. We think there is a college baseball program that would be a good fit for almost any high school baseball player. To get a better idea about the D1 alternatives, browse the websites for some of the nearly 1,000 different college baseball programs in the country, or look at the division websites that can be found here.
Myth #5: If you are not good enough to play D1 out of high school, you will never be good enough.
Truth: Players who are not hot prospects out of high school may gain height, weight, and coordination in the first year or two out of high school making them more competitive for positions in D1 or D2 programs. Other players just need a little more work after high school to reach their full potential. While JC ball will not work miracles, many JC players work hard, improve, and end up transferring to D1 schools when they are done with their JC eligibility.
So, if you didn’t get the call from the big-name coach, open your mind to other levels. Don’t give up if you want to keep playing baseball.