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B1G Baseball Scholarships/Recruiting Explained

ShortSideOption

All Big 10
10 Year Member
This thread is to help us take a look at the difference of being in the B1G compared to any other conference in the country, and helps dive into why elite coaches like Coach Smith from Indiana flee the conference to head to other conferences to try and win championships more consistently. While reading about these road blocks, there are two quotes to keep remembering:

"The athletic directors and fans can sit there and say they want to be nationally competitive all they want, but if they're tying their baseball coaches hands and not letting them over-offer scholarships with the draft in the mix for not only underclassmen but high school recruits, they'll never be nationally prominent." - Coach George Horton former National Coach of the year

"My friends who coach at southern schools laugh when I tell them that the B1G doesn't allow us to get a commit from a kid until our guys physically sign contracts. They are like 'how in the do you guys recruit?' I have my response down to a science now, I put my hands behind my back and say 'like this'" - Former Indiana coach Tracy Smith


There are two major hurdles that the B1G places on their teams taht no other conferences do. We will explain them a bit deeper...

Inability to oversign like every other conference - The huge issue here is in a sport where not only can RS Sophomores and Juniors leave your program to the draft like Seniors, so can your high school kids. The B1G just recently changed the rules where teams can oversign by up to 1 scholarship spread over 2 players, but when every other conference can oversign by 6-8 players every year to protect them against the draft, we are still at a massive disadvantage. I have showed this stat before, but the University of Arkansas turned their roster over in 2 recruting classes (35 players), it takes Nebraska 5 recruiting classes.

Inability to replace players until they physically sign a contract - This is where if you thought not letting our coaches oversign was a joke, get ready for the even bigger bomb. Let's say that Jesse Wilkening last year informed Darin Erstad before the season even started that he was going to be signing with an MLB team when he gets drafted. Coach Erstad can not use his 80% (made up percentage) on anyone until he actually signs his MLB contract. So despite Wilkening telling Erstad, Erstad could not recruit another player with that 80% until Wilkening signed in June. Also keep in mind that signing day for the class coming in was back in November. Do we think there is anyone out there that is that great waiting to be signed? We did get lucky with Palensky, so we have that going for us.

Diving deeper:
- Arizona State signed 22 players one year. They have 21 freshman and sophomores (not eligible for the draft), and unless all 12 juniors leave, they need 8 signed players to get drafted and sign, to avoid a roster of over 35. Again, Nebraska can't do this. And again, it's not a coincidence that our inability to oversign at the level of Arizona State or Arkansas means we can't have the national dominance like these programs (again reference the Coach Horton quote)

- Ohio State knows first hand what it's like. When Haase, Wisler, and Cohoes all signed, few saw the three as potential drafted players. OSU coaches saw the trio as players they could build their program around for 3 years. When all 3 left, OSU was without the luxury that Arizona State, Arkansas, and many others enjoy. 2 of the players didn't sign contracts until August. That not only went further than trying to help their team for the coming year (they were down 2 scholarships that year), but most of the kids were already committed elsewhere.

- Per Tracy Smith "Look what happened to Michigan last year. Tehy win the Big Ten the year before, and fail to qualify for the tournament the next year. Is it because Coach Maloney was a great coach one year and bade the next? No! He lost a ton of underclassmen and was not able to use their money until they signed. Who are you going to find that late to replace that kind of talent?"

- Harvey Perlman defended the rule, and stated that some some principles are more paramount than winning, and one of those are student-athlete welfare. "The B1G makes it more difficult to compete. But it isn't for random reasons. They believe it puts you in a difficult position when you're making scholarship offers that you know you're not going to be able to fulfill." While that is true, it doesn't sound like the B1G wants to change things up to make us competitive any time soon.

- So how does Erstad recruit? Think back to when Cole Stobbe at Millard West was looked at as a potential top 5 round draft pick. Erstad was essentially in a losing situation. Offer him what Arkansas is, with no ability to over-sign and offer his scholarship to others in case he leaves. Or offer him a smaller percentage and hope he wants to stay home so that you don't get screwed. He ended up signing MLB, and everyone thought Erstad was trying to get the "local discount" on him. When in fact we were protecting ourselves against the B1G scholarship rules.

I do think there are some things Erstad can and should do better, but this is the reality of where we are now. When people quote how we did from 1999-2008, they are forgetting we were in a completely different conference. Creighton and UNOmaha can actually recruit with less restrictions than Nebraska. Further, Nebraska had a top 10 coach all time in Van Horn during that run. We should strive to get there, but also understand the climate is different.

However, in the article mentioned, a couple coaches state that being a northern school isn't the reason for lack of success, as you can still get players (see Oregon State). It's lack of oversigning that's the issue. It's why you can have a good couple year run and tank in a season.

http://chrswbb.blogspot.com/2011/11/its-time-to-look-at-oversigning-in.html?_sm_au_=iHVHZfs20M1HSZj3
 
This thread is to help us take a look at the difference of being in the B1G compared to any other conference in the country, and helps dive into why elite coaches like Coach Smith from Indiana flee the conference to head to other conferences to try and win championships more consistently. While reading about these road blocks, there are two quotes to keep remembering:

"The athletic directors and fans can sit there and say they want to be nationally competitive all they want, but if they're tying their baseball coaches hands and not letting them over-offer scholarships with the draft in the mix for not only underclassmen but high school recruits, they'll never be nationally prominent." - Coach George Horton former National Coach of the year

"My friends who coach at southern schools laugh when I tell them that the B1G doesn't allow us to get a commit from a kid until our guys physically sign contracts. They are like 'how in the do you guys recruit?' I have my response down to a science now, I put my hands behind my back and say 'like this'" - Former Indiana coach Tracy Smith


There are two major hurdles that the B1G places on their teams taht no other conferences do. We will explain them a bit deeper...

Inability to oversign like every other conference - The huge issue here is in a sport where not only can RS Sophomores and Juniors leave your program to the draft like Seniors, so can your high school kids. The B1G just recently changed the rules where teams can oversign by up to 1 scholarship spread over 2 players, but when every other conference can oversign by 6-8 players every year to protect them against the draft, we are still at a massive disadvantage. I have showed this stat before, but the University of Arkansas turned their roster over in 2 recruting classes (35 players), it takes Nebraska 5 recruiting classes.

Inability to replace players until they physically sign a contract - This is where if you thought not letting our coaches oversign was a joke, get ready for the even bigger bomb. Let's say that Jesse Wilkening last year informed Darin Erstad before the season even started that he was going to be signing with an MLB team when he gets drafted. Coach Erstad can not use his 80% (made up percentage) on anyone until he actually signs his MLB contract. So despite Wilkening telling Erstad, Erstad could not recruit another player with that 80% until Wilkening signed in June. Also keep in mind that signing day for the class coming in was back in November. Do we think there is anyone out there that is that great waiting to be signed? We did get lucky with Palensky, so we have that going for us.

Diving deeper:
- Arizona State signed 22 players one year. They have 21 freshman and sophomores (not eligible for the draft), and unless all 12 juniors leave, they need 8 signed players to get drafted and sign, to avoid a roster of over 35. Again, Nebraska can't do this. And again, it's not a coincidence that our inability to oversign at the level of Arizona State or Arkansas means we can't have the national dominance like these programs (again reference the Coach Horton quote)

- Ohio State knows first hand what it's like. When Haase, Wisler, and Cohoes all signed, few saw the three as potential drafted players. OSU coaches saw the trio as players they could build their program around for 3 years. When all 3 left, OSU was without the luxury that Arizona State, Arkansas, and many others enjoy. 2 of the players didn't sign contracts until August. That not only went further than trying to help their team for the coming year (they were down 2 scholarships that year), but most of the kids were already committed elsewhere.

- Per Tracy Smith "Look what happened to Michigan last year. Tehy win the Big Ten the year before, and fail to qualify for the tournament the next year. Is it because Coach Maloney was a great coach one year and bade the next? No! He lost a ton of underclassmen and was not able to use their money until they signed. Who are you going to find that late to replace that kind of talent?"

- Harvey Perlman defended the rule, and stated that some some principles are more paramount than winning, and one of those are student-athlete welfare. "The B1G makes it more difficult to compete. But it isn't for random reasons. They believe it puts you in a difficult position when you're making scholarship offers that you know you're not going to be able to fulfill." While that is true, it doesn't sound like the B1G wants to change things up to make us competitive any time soon.

- So how does Erstad recruit? Think back to when Cole Stobbe at Millard West was looked at as a potential top 5 round draft pick. Erstad was essentially in a losing situation. Offer him what Arkansas is, with no ability to over-sign and offer his scholarship to others in case he leaves. Or offer him a smaller percentage and hope he wants to stay home so that you don't get screwed. He ended up signing MLB, and everyone thought Erstad was trying to get the "local discount" on him. When in fact we were protecting ourselves against the B1G scholarship rules.

I do think there are some things Erstad can and should do better, but this is the reality of where we are now. When people quote how we did from 1999-2008, they are forgetting we were in a completely different conference. Creighton and UNOmaha can actually recruit with less restrictions than Nebraska. Further, Nebraska had a top 10 coach all time in Van Horn during that run. We should strive to get there, but also understand the climate is different.

However, in the article mentioned, a couple coaches state that being a northern school isn't the reason for lack of success, as you can still get players (see Oregon State). It's lack of oversigning that's the issue. It's why you can have a good couple year run and tank in a season.

http://chrswbb.blogspot.com/2011/11/its-time-to-look-at-oversigning-in.html?_sm_au_=iHVHZfs20M1HSZj3
This is the best explanation that I've ever heard or read anywhere for what is going on in B1G baseball? Why isn't this discussed at the Omaha World Herald and Lincoln Journal Star? Did I miss those articles?
 

cthusker

You talken to me?
5 Year Member
Why isn't every baseball coach in the BIG constantly raising this issue? It would perhaps help if all Big Ten fans understood what a huge disadvantage all conference teams labor under. The way this was explained it's a huge disadvantage to Big Ten baseball teams trying to develop a consistent national winning program.
 

Mack The Shark

Elite Poster
5 Year Member
Why isn't every baseball coach in the BIG constantly raising this issue? It would perhaps help if all Big Ten fans understood what a huge disadvantage all conference teams labor under. The way this was explained it's a huge disadvantage to Big Ten baseball teams trying to develop a consistent national winning program.
Nebraska is the only school in the B1G that has baseball fans.
 

ShortSideOption

All Big 10
10 Year Member
Why isn't every baseball coach in the BIG constantly raising this issue? It would perhaps help if all Big Ten fans understood what a huge disadvantage all conference teams labor under. The way this was explained it's a huge disadvantage to Big Ten baseball teams trying to develop a consistent national winning program.
If you read the article I linked, the major issue is B1G higher up’s openly admitting this puts us at a competitive disadvantage, but they don’t care (Has quotes from Perlman). It’s really odd that they don’t seem to care for football but are taking a hard stance in baseball. It makes it nearly impossible.

Just imagine if Erstad could take twice as many recruits every year like LSU or Arkansas gets to?
 
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ShortSideOption

All Big 10
10 Year Member
This is the best explanation that I've ever heard or read anywhere for what is going on in B1G baseball? Why isn't this discussed at the Omaha World Herald and Lincoln Journal Star? Did I miss those articles?
The World Herald I believe wrote and article right when we got into the B1G celebrating that baseball had been given the green light to oversign by 1 scholarship spread to 2 players. But as discussed, that really does next to nothing to get us on the same level.
 

BW22SM

Recruit
There's a way around the B1G baseball scholarship restrictions. Since baseball isn't a head count sport, offer 1-year scholarships. Only head count (football, basketball, etc) sports guarantee the scholarship offer/signed is guaranteed beyond 1 year. There will always be exemptions to 1-year baseball offers but this does allow us to (legally) skirt around the B1G restrictions which also allows us to over sign without technically (by rule) over signing. ((Confused yet? Ha!))

Example
45% scholarship 2019-20
0% scholarship 2020-21/2021-22/2022-23
The original 45% is back in the 11.7 scholarship pool after 1 season

If a player earned his 45%, or more, after one season then he's offered another scholarship for the following season. If a player doesn't earn his 45%, it goes back in to the 11.7 pool. This process also allows us to reduce the scholarship to a smaller amount and the reduction difference goes back in to the 11.7 pool immediately.

To a lesser extent, it's how it was back in the day & IMO it's how NU should handle it going forward.
 
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wcbsas

All Legend
15 Year Member
If you read the article I linked, the major issue is B1G higher up’s openly admitting this puts us at a competitive disadvantage, but they don’t care (Has quotes from Perlman). It’s really odd that they don’t seem to care for football but are taking a hard stance in baseball. It makes it nearly impossible.

Just imagine if Erstad could take twice as many recruits every year like LSU or Arkansas gets to?
Could it be a conference perspective due to Title IX concerns?
Additionally most B1G schools probably dont care as much about baseball as Pac12 and SEC conference schools do!
 
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