A latest look at fall college baseball happenings…
By Collegebaseball360.com Editor Sean Stires
- The big news of the week (and probably the year) is that Cal will eliminate baseball after the 2011 season. Title IX has taken a beating since the news was announced last Tuesday, but this is not a Title IX issue, especially
considering women’s gymnastics and women’s lacrosse are among the other sports that Golden Bears Athletic Director Sandy Barbour and Chancellor Robert J. Birgeneau will give the ax. The move is a sign of a time when pure economics drives decisions in college athletics. A reported $321 million football stadium renovation doesn’t help things. That said, it’s one thing to hear of schools like Vermont and Duquesne dropping baseball. Those schools don’t have football revenue to prop them up. But this is a BCS conference school, and a “baseball” conference to boot. If a place like Cal, which has won two national championships and has been to the College World Series a total of five times, can cut baseball it doesn’t bode well for other programs across the land.
- I took a small step in my own show of support for the Golden Bears this week when I ordered my Cal baseball cap from Dugouthats.com. I’ll be wearing it as much as possible through the end of the Cal baseball era.
- Have you seen the Sporting News Magazine Sports’ Smartest Athletes list? Former Yale and current Oakland A’s pitcher Craig Breslow has the distinction of the smartest athlete in the land. Breslow was a molecular
biophysics and biochemistry major at Yale and was once accepted to NYU’s medical school after scoring a 34 on his MCAT…the average med school applicant scores a 28. Breslow isn’t the only former college baseball player on the list. In fact, six former college baseball stars reside among the top 13 on the 20-man list. They are: #3 Ross Ohlendorf – Princeton/Pittsburgh Pirates. #8) Chris Young - Princeton/San Diego Padres…he’s the first athlete to be named All-Ivy League in both baseball and basketball. #9) Brad Ausmus – Dartmouth/Houston Astros. #12) Jody Gerut – Stanford/San Diego Padres. #13) Craig Counsell – Notre Dame/Milwaukee Brewers. Kansas City Royals pitcher Brian Bannister, who played at USC, is also listed as an honorable mention pick.
- Somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 2011 college baseball schedules were released last week, including the first ACC slate released to date – Virginia Tech. The Hokies biggest early test will be their opening weekend at the Coastal Carolina Tournament.
- The field is set for the 2011 Houston College Classic at Minute Maid Park. Houston, Rice, Texas A&M, Baylor, Kentucky, and Utah will all participate in the March 4-6 event in the big league ballpark. Utah released its schedule last week, and the Utes will open their season with three games at Cal, three games at Arkansas, and then open in Houston against Texas A&M. That gives Bill Kinneberg’s squad seven straight games to open the 2011 campaign against 2010 NCAA Tournament teams.
- Former LSU two-sport star Chad Jones was back in Baton Rouge over the weekend. At halftime of Saturday’s LSU-Tennessee football game LSU showed a video recapping his career as a football and baseball player for the Tigers. He and former LSU teammate Jared Mitchell are the only two players to ever win both a BCS football national title and the College World Series. Jones gave-up baseball for a pro football career when he was drafted by the New York Giants last spring, but his athletic career is on hold right now. He nearly lost his leg in June when he crashed his SUV into a pole in New Orleans. Jones is currently going through extensive rehab and could still require more surgery on the leg in the future.
- The Big 12 Tournament will go back to a double elimination format beginning in 2011. Big 12 athletic directors approved the proposal from the league’s baseball coaches. The Big 12 has used a pool play format since 2006, but the change will be made after four games on the second to last day of this year’s tournament were meaningless. Eight teams will qualify for the 2001 tournament. They will be split into two pools and use double elimination to determine the winner of each pool. The winners will then play for the championship.