California JUCO Baseball
The California junior college baseball scene is rare. The main factor making the CA brand of JUCO baseball different is the fact that they function separately and independently of the rest of the country (and the NJCAA). They have their own rules and regulations, and compete for their own championship.
California definitely has the numbers in order to do things on their own. In 2008, there were 89 community colleges in the state participating in baseball! To put that in perspective, that’s more JUCO baseball programs than the “baseball hotbed” states of Arizona, Texas, and Florida combined. As you might expect there is a wide range in the level of play, including many schools that are among the very best in the nation.
California JUCO Baseball Organization
The governing body is now known as the California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA), formerly the Commission On Athletics or COA. The member schools are divided into ten conferences, 5 in the Northern California vicinity and 5 in the Southern California vicinity. Eighteen schools from each vicinity qualify for postseason play, competing for the state championship by a regional and super regional playoff system.
Big Differences in Scholarships and Recruiting
This is what really makes CA JUCO baseball a totally different animal. The first issue is that of athletic scholarships. It is plain and simple – there are none. Financial assistance or a subsidy of any sort that is based upon athletic participation is illegal. More on the cost of attending these schools in the next section.
Recruiting rules for members of the CCCAA are also very different than they are for NJCAA schools in the rest of the country. The schools are separated into districts and as a consequence of this, each school has a defined “recruiting area”. The recruiting area of a school is defined as its own district in addition as the districts they proportion a geographical border with. A coach may conduct what would be considered normal recruiting activity within this area, but the rules change when an athlete from outside this area is involved. If the prospective athlete is from outside the recruiting area of a school, first contact must be initiated by the athlete himself, not the school. Once the athlete makes this first contact a coach is allowed to communicate with him via phone calls, letters, email, etc. But any in-person recruiting always must always take place within the school’s recruiting area.
So if you live outside the state and you’re interested in a 2 year school in California, don’t wait around for a coach to call you. He can’t. You are going to need to contact him first. And if you want to talk to him confront to confront, you will have to go there.
California community colleges are among the most affordable in the nation. In state tuition is usually around $20 per credit hour, a fantastic deal. And already the out of state tuition of around $170 per hour is affordable. The real cost of attending will be in housing. Most schools have a commuter student population and few have student housing, meaning one would need to find other arrangements. As I’m sure you know, this can get to be an expensive proposition in California.
Some of the advantages to looking at California community college baseball are; a large number of schools and levels of play to chose from, affordable tuition, and settings that range from the mountains of the Northwest to metro Los Angeles. You might find the right combination to suit you on the West Coast.