4 Mistakes You Might Be Making About D3 - STUDENTathleteWorld (2022)

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4 Mistakes You Might Be Making About D3 - STUDENTathleteWorld (1)

Original Article Published byMike McCarthy, Co-Founder - The Baseball Zone [http://blog.thebaseballzone.ca/college-baseball-recruiting-4-mistakes-you-might-be-making-about-d3]

The pursuit of a college baseball scholarship is the dream of many a young boy. The common dream is to see oneself donning, say, the Texas Longhorns uniform in the College World Series and hitting the game winning home run or clinching the big one with a perfect game on the mound for the LSU Tigers.Then as they enter their high school years this dream can start to fade away for many, but for some the dream remains and it starts to materialize as a possible reality.

We have all been there, in some way or another, some sport or even another one of life's pursuits. And we all know or have experienced that these dreams don't always end so perfectly in real life, but can still end fortuitously nonetheless. While the young lad may exist who dreamed of taking the Colby College Mules on his back to the College World Series (true, they are not even eligible but this is a boy's dream), that lad would be a rare one indeed. What isn't rare, however, is the ultimate reality that Division III baseball is the right place for you to realize your dream of playing collegiate baseball. It has been, is today, and will prove to be so for many players in the future. Unfortunately, it gets written off by too many athletes and their families, often too soon, often without enough facts and often just flat out mistakenly. But it doesn't have to be that way.

Here are 4 common mistakes you might be making about D3 athletics in your college baseball pursuit. Hopefully at least one of them might make you pause for a little bit of thought before writing it off as not being the right fit for you:

1 - I am too good for D3-Well good for you! I am glad you think so. Great to have such a healthy level of confidence - it will serve you well in the future when chances are you will be riding the pines for the first season or two at that Division 1 school you are headed to. But - just for fun - would you be willing to listen to a few facts about the chances that this is true? That you are too good for D3? OK good. Get comfortable.

There are only enough roster spots in college for 2% of high school aged athletes. Are you really in that class that you're too good for even a portion of that level? Really? Are you absolutely dominating pretty much every time you take the field with and against your peers? We are not talking about someone saying "you have a nice swing" or hitting a certain velocity once in a blue moon on the radar gun...in a pristine indoor facility...with no batter. We are talking about real competition...and are you dominating? If you are not, then what makes you think you are too good for a level of athletics that is only open to a portion of that 2% of high school athletes and played by young men, not growing boys?

In fact,THE NUMBER ONE RECRUITING MISTAKEmade by athletes and their families is that theyTARGET SCHOOLS ABOVE THEIR ABILITY LEVEL, according to StudentAthleteWorld President and Founder & 8-year NCAA Coach Tim Ryerson. He now helps athletes and their families navigate the college recruiting process and this is lesson #1 - in so many words, be well calibrated in where you position yourself in the market. Be realistic. Be honest with yourself and take the advice of those who have seen more than you have, whether it is exactly what you wanted to hear or not. You cannot WISH your way to a level of athletics that you may not be destined for and there is no shame in that. We don't all make the big leagues. We don't all make the Olympics. We don't all play D1. Yet you can still have a highly rewarding student-athlete experience at another level, including D3 - don't rob yourself of that opportunity with unrealistic expectations and self-evaluations.

Check out a talk Tim gave some basketball players, their surprising reaction to a question he asks them, and 4 more mistakes that athletes and their families make in the recruiting process:

2 - The competition isn't very good-Mmm hmm. Yes, that is correct. It isn't very good. And you know this because....????? You laid a whupping on a D3 pitcher recently on your Spring Training trip? Or you were bumming around with a bunch of D3 scrubs recently and showed them how the game is played? Probably not, right?

While in general everyone will agree that the very top of the talent pool lands at top D1 programs or top JUCO programs for various reasons, there is still A LOT of talent left over to fill out rosters at D2, NAIA, and yes, D3. Remember the stats about roster spots for high school athletes? Specifically to baseball, in a given year about 6% of graduating high school players will GET A PIECE OF an athletic scholarship at one of the D1, D2, NAIA or JUCO schools. So let's say for argument's sake (although not 100% true) that every D3 player is less talented than those other players at the "higher" levels. OK - so you are talking about the 93rd percentile, the 92nd percentile, the 91st...and so on. Do you really think that baseball from that population of athletes is not very good? Compared to the College World Series? OK sure. But compared to what might be your best fit? Chances are not very likely.

Again,we'll check in on a chat with Tim Ryerson about this very same assumption or mythand his explanation is that the reality is that there is a ton of overlap in divisions and that some D3 schools are better athletically than some D2 and even some D1. So while IN GENERAL, D1 is followed by D2 which is followed by D3, it is hardly an immutable law of sorting, let's call it.

As an example, let's considerthe number of D3 athletes playing professional baseball in 2013. As of the start of last season, there were 59 D3 alumni playing professional baseball, 8 of which were in the Major Leagues from places like Alvernia and Wheaton Colleges. Have you heard of them? Be honest. They probably don't turn your crank at first sound, do they? Now they don't make video games with these schools in them, but these 59 players eventually heard of these schools, considered them, enrolled in them, developed in them as both students and athletes, and right now are significantly better than you are, guaranteed. So before you start thinking that the competition is not very good, you might want to view the facts and not just the noise that's thrown around by people who really might not be that aware of the landscape.

3 - The academics aren't very good -There is no doubt that many D3 schools are not household names, like the Alvernias and Wheatons of the world, but typically schools that compete in D3 are small (and sometimes very elite schools academically) which explains the relative anonymity. The latest ranking of theForbes Top 100 Collegesis littered with familiar D1 and top academic schools like Stanford, Duke, Michigan, UCLA, USC & Virginia, but for every athletic-academic powerhouse school like these, there is also one by names such as Pomona, Swarthmore, Williams, Amherst & Bowdoin. These schools are not only highly regarded academically by virtue of being on this list (and many other reasons), but also compete in Division III athletics. In fact there are 37 schools on the list of the Top 100 colleges that participate in D3 athletics. Over a third! So if we want to borrow a common term these days from the world of sports media, let's just say that some "advanced analytics" (they are not advanced, just poking fun at the sudden rash of math majors in the media) show that top notch academic institutions are spread equally among various levels of athletic divisions and that your assumption about the actual academics of a school are best left to analysis on a case-by-case basis and eschewing any blanket assumptions.

4 - There is no scholarship money-This is true. You are making no mistake here. There is no athletic money at the D3 level. But is there very much at the other levels? Not a lot. Certainly not enough to make it a wise move to put all of your apples into a scoring a massive scholarship that will bring the post-secondary costs down to zero. In fact, baseball is pretty thrifty in the scholarship department. At D1 the max. # of scholarships available is 11.7; at D2 it is 9; and at NAIA it is 12. With 30-35 players on a roster not being uncommon, you do the math. In fact,in a study done about a decade ago and published in the New York Times, baseball was declared the second lowest overall average athletic scholarship ($ value) in men's sports at the D1 and D2 levels, exceeding only men's riflery at just under $6K a year. Now $6K is $6K, but with some schools running upwards of $60K a year now, do you think it is wise to declare "athletic scholarship or BUST!"? Is it going to make that much of a difference to you at the possible cost of missing out on a unique, best fit opportunity that may await you at a D3 school? Are you that sure? Or just closed minded? Don't forget the fact that if you are a good student you may qualify for academic monies at a D3 school, and maybe just maybe it would have exceeded what you could have received athletically at a D1 or D2 school. I am not saying it would have or it will. But it might. And there is no way to say that it won't until you find out.

So before you make up your mind about Division III athletics NOT being the right place for you, it may be wise to think again in your college baseball recruiting journey. The athletics are very good - likely higher than you have ever experienced and possibly ever will. The academics are no less than D1 and in many, many cases take a back seat to no other institutions in the world. The scholarship dream is full of fool's gold, and even if you do earn an athletic one, it will most likely be a small percentage of what the entire ticket is going to be for you anyway. And frankly, you just might not be as good as you think you are, or simply just don't have an idea of HOW GOOD the competition is at the schools you THINK you should be going to.

So please, keep an open mind about the possibilities, good luck in your pursuit and may you find the very best fit for yourself at the next level.


Mike McCarthy, Co-Founder - The Baseball Zone

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