Sidebar: College baseball players don't need pay, only equal scholarship

OSU Baseball vs K-State Friday-9424.jpg

OSU coach Josh Holliday claps during the Oklahoma State vs. Kansas State Big 12 Conference baseball game at Allie P. Reynolds Stadium in Stillwater on Friday, March 22, 2019.

Should student-athletes be paid? The NCAA began to answer that.

Beyond athletes in football and men’s basketball - the sports offering the most opportunity for student-athletes getting paid - who else benefits? Some sports would simply like to catch up in regards to scholarship aid.

The Oklahoma State baseball team receives 11.7 scholarships to spread over 35 players. That isn’t distributed equally either, as some players are left without aid.

Coach Josh Holliday said he isn’t worried about his players being paid, but he does believe they should all be given full scholarships.

“I think before we get to the point of saying, we should pay college athletes in addition to scholarships, we would first, in the sport of baseball, first get them a scholarship,” Holliday said.

Holliday said getting players a scholarship would help kids get on the right track.

“I think if you can pay for a kid’s education in the sport of baseball as well as provide his room and board, that’s an awfully strong commitment and I think it would be a great place to start in the sport of baseball,” Holliday said.

Baseball, like most men’s college sports, does not get full scholarships for their roster. They work just as hard as football or basketball players. They practice just as hard. They put in similar hours working, training, traveling, but still, they don’t receive the same recognition.

One might think allowing student-athletes to benefit off their name, image and likeness would solve the problem, but Holliday said it wouldn’t do too much.

“If you’re 18 years old and a freshman playing baseball, then you would have been a high draft choice and choose to go to college,” Holliday said. “I don’t know that an apparel company needs you yet from a market and endorsement standpoint because your return for their company is years away.”

Unlike basketball, where kids are all over Instagram dunking from 14 years old, baseball simply doesn’t have the same market. This is partly due to the fact that baseball players, even once they’re draft, are often regulated to the minor leagues.

“In those sports, because the athletes don’t go to the minor leagues, their marketability and value, and the market might be more mature whereas a baseball player’s marketability and his impact on the consumer is still a few years away cause people don’t know him quite as well yet,” Holliday said.

The struggles that college baseball players face are bigger than people realize. It’s not about getting a few extra bucks, it’s about equality amongst student-athletes.

“If we’re not even at full scholarships or equal scholarships to get to the point of paying them in baseball would be a huge jump,” Holliday said. “I don’t think we’re ready to jump that far.”

sports.ed@ocolly.com