MLB Could Exert Greater Influence Over D-I Baseball As Part Of Potential NCAA Partnership
MLB and the NCAA are talking about an "unprecedented partnership" in which MLB would “fund scholarships and exert greater influence over Division I college baseball,” according to Eric Olson of the AP. If a deal is reached, it “would be the first of its kind and could lead other professional organizations [to] enter partnerships with the NCAA.” Univ. of Hartford President Walter Harrison, who is representing the NCAA in the talks, said that there are five issues being discussed with MLB: “scholarships, ways to increase diversity, the calendar for the entry draft and College World Series, MLB’s involvement in summer leagues, and wooden bats.” Harrison said that it "could take a year or longer for an agreement to be reached because new or amended legislation might be required.” Harrison: “I want to be cautious about whether this will happen or not. These are concepts at the moment.” MLB Senior VP/PR Pat Courtney said that it was “too early to comment" on the talks. MLBPA Exec Dir Michael Weiner called the talks "exploratory." Harrison said that the “most dramatic proposal would have MLB fund one full scholarship for each Division I program that meets certain criteria.” The league would have “no say in who receives the scholarship.” Harrison noted that Title IX “would have to be addressed if MLB were to provide extra scholarships to baseball” (AP, 5/8).
OMAHA STILL BOOKED FOR JUNE: In Omaha, Steven Pivovar notes a "possible shift in when the College World Series is played is one of the discussion points" in the NCAA-MLB talks. NCAA VP/Baseball & Football Dennis Poppe said yesterday that he “doubts the NCAA would ever agree to any drastic changes that would see the event played earlier in the year." Poppe: “There are a lot of moving parts in this discussion, and we’re looking at all the options in regard to what’s best for the parties involved. But changing the dates of the College World Series is something I just don’t see happening.” Poppe said that the NCAA “first began talking with representatives of MLB and the players union in 2008.” He noted that former MLBPA Exec Dir Donald Fehr and late NCAA President Myles Brand were “catalysts of the talks” (Omaha WORLD-HERALD, 5/9).