Since launching our softball / baseball recruiting list that we send out tips and information to (you can sign up for free here), we get a lot of questions about the recruiting process. Specifically one of the main questions is “can I play here,” or “where should I be looking?” Many students completely rule out the idea of attending a Junior College (JUCO) their first year or two. We might be guilty of perpetuating the stigma that Junior College Baseball isn’t up to par, when in reality it makes for a funny tweet and most people miss the joke.
Playing baseball or softball at a JUCO has its benefits, and there are many situations where you might be better off starting your college playing career at one of these two year colleges. Here are 3 possible reasons it might be for you.
- Save Money: The cost of college tuition is through the roof, and it’s certainly something to think about. Most high school kids just think oh I’ll just pile it on to my student loans and pay it off when I’m out of school and have a job. Take it from someone who finally hit the age of paying off student loans…big mistake. Many high school kids don’t even know what they want to study in school yet. Your first two years at a four year school will be nothing but core classes anyway, so why not knock out these courses for much cheaper at a Junior College?
- Further develop as a ball player: Are you further along in the college softball/ baseball recruiting process and don’t have a ton of offers yet? Senior year is here and you still don’t have a school begging for your services? You’ve got two choices, go try to walk on at a big school where the coach doesn’t know your name, or find a Junior College baseball program to get some reps and playing time for a year or two while you pack on size and hone your skills as a ball player.
- Get Drafted Earlier: I almost left this one out because chances are few reading this have the problem of deciding if they need to go NCAA or get drafted as an 18-19 year old at a Junior College. But, it’s true that while at an NCAA school, you must have completed your junior season or be 21 years old to be draft eligible, the same doesn’t apply at a JUCO baseball program. You can get drafted right away.
Just like NCAA schools have well run baseball programs, and poorly run programs across the country, there are really well run Junior College baseball programs, and poorly run programs. Don’t think you have to miss out on playing top level competitive baseball or softball just because you’re attending a JUCO. That’s not the case. If you fit any of the criteria above, don’t leave out a Junior College during your softball or baseball recruiting process.