Jan. 11, 2006
If you look really close at the playing field at Duane Banks Field later this spring when the college baseball season starts, you just might notice that it is a little more level than it was a year ago. And, it won’t be as level as it will be when Coach Jack Dahm’s Iowa baseball team takes to the diamond for the 2008 college baseball season.
Is it a riddle? No. Thanks to a decision made yesterday by the leadership of the NCAA, the playing field for college baseball teams from Florida to Maine to Washington to Texas will be much more even on Feb. 1, 2008.
“…this is an absolutely tremendous decision for the sport of college baseball. It puts us a little closer to an even playing field for all teams regardless of geography.”
UI Baseball Coach Jack Dahm
That’s because Feb. 1, 2008 will be the first day that college baseball teams will be able to practice. The NCAA also established “the first Friday in February that is 13 weeks before the Sunday immediately before Memorial Day” – yes, that’s a mouthful – as the first date for permissible competition.
“In my personal opinion, this is an absolutely tremendous decision for the sport of college baseball. It puts us a little closer to an even playing field for all teams regardless of geography,” said Dahm, Iowa’s third-year head coach.
“The northern baseball coaches are still disappointed that we were not able to push the season back but this is still a positive step for college baseball.”
“When we travel south each spring to start our season we typically play teams that have as many as 15 or 20 games under their belt. That’s a rather significant advantage,” he added.
Dahm said the designation of an official start date will have a significant effect on college baseball teams that don’t have the weather challenges that confront teams from the Big Ten Conference, for example.
“Southern teams typically didn’t play midweek games. They could thrive with a three-man pitching rotation. Now ,with the compaction of the schedule, southern schools will have to play more midweek games which will cause them to go deeper into their pitching staffs,” said Dahm.
“Again, this is a good thing for the sport. Admittedly, it may not be the best thing for some teams in our sport, but it’s the best thing for the sport as a whole,” Dahm said.