NCAA approves making volunteer college baseball coaches into full-time roles | Sports

The NCAA Division I Council announced this week that all volunteer coaches across every sport, including baseball, will be reclassified as full-time assistants on Wednesday.

The NCAA’s ruling gives Division I Baseball programs the capacity to have three full-time paid assistant coaches.

This comes after Division I volunteer baseball coaches, which includes Arkansas coach Taylor Smart and UC Davis coach Michael Hacker,  filed a lawsuit in the Eastern District of California on Nov. 29. The plaintiffs argued that the NCAA illegally limits not only the number of paid baseball coaches a team could hire, but also illegally price fixes a volunteer coach’s salary at zero.

There was also another proposal, which would have given Division I baseball, softball and ice hockey programs the ability to add another full-time paid assistant in addition to the already three full-time paid assistants. However, the NCAA Division I Council voted against it in a surprisingly close count. If it was approved, the legislation would’ve allowed baseball programs to have four full-time paid assistants instead of three.

“I would say that we’re really excited to finally make some progress for our coaches. With this, we can get some of our younger coaches some much-needed experience to continue to develop and to further their careers,” ABCA executive director Craig Keilitz said. “We’re disappointed we didn’t get the fifth countable coach — it’s absolutely needed — but athletic departments and directors have to make tough decisions. We’ll continue to tackle that issue in the next year, and if we need to, in the coming years.”

According to D1Baseball.com editor Kendall Rogers, who first broke the news, the NCAA Division I Council was also deciding on roster limits, counters, and scholarship minimums during the Division I Council meeting.

“There is still a moratorium on new legislation until the NCAA Transformation Committee completes all its work,” Rogers said. “Therefore, the 40-man roster and other items can’t be introduced to the legislative agenda just yet. There is a chance all three measures could be approved via a waiver process as the spring progresses.”

Although this ruling is a sign of progress, Keilitz still believes that there’s work to be done.

“I appreciate the help the coaches have provided to make this all work for their respective programs,” Keilitz said. “We’re continuing to make progress, but if I’m being honest, I’d like it to move a little faster sometimes. But it’s progress. We will continue to fight for more.”

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