Cuts hit Troy baseball

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The Troy University baseball team had 50 players for the 2008 season, but because of new NCAA legislation head coach Bobby Pierce and his staff will have to slim that number to 35 by the first day of fall semester this year.

Pierce said there is no longer room for his &uot;open door&uot; policy of selecting players.

&uot;If we have room and we have the number of players that want to participate and they do good work in the classroom, they are good citizens in the community, they know what their role is on our team and they want to be a part of it in that role, then we don’t cut,&uot; Pierce said. &uot;We don’t cut people, so our number has grown.&uot;

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The academic performance of college athletes in the nation is being tracked using the Academic Performance Rate. The sport of baseball ranked third to last, in front of basketball and football for the 2007 season.

The NCAA Division I Board of Directors assigned a working committee to study the sport of baseball in relation with academic work produced by the athletes. This committee recommended legislation to reduce the number of scholarship players and total players on each team and it was adopted by the Division I board in Emergency Legislation April 26, 2007.

Two override processes were needed, which sent the legislation to the Division I membership convention for a final vote Jan. 12, 2008.

Troy voted against the new rules at the convention, but the legislation passed by an adequate number of votes and set the rules in place for the 2008-09 academic year.

The legislation has four parts. First, it puts the limit on scholarship players at 30 for 2009 and 27 beginning in 2010. Second, the limit of total players was set at 35 from 2009 on. Third, the minimum scholarship percentage requirement was set at 25 percent for athletes first entering school in fall 2008 and beyond. And last, it included a residence requirement of one year before a Division I transfer could play.

Pierce said the Trojans staff has been slowly trying to help the Trojans understand the entire process and he said he will weigh his options before making any cuts.

&uot;I will wait on the pro draft and I will wait on any eligibility issues that may occur,&uot; he said. &uot;Because that may cut me back right there.&uot;

This has not been an easy transition for Pierce.

&uot;I have lost sleep over this for six months and I still haven’t even gotten to the point of saying ‘You are gone,’&uot; Pierce said. &uot;We went over all this with them and told them to go over it and ask any questions they had. We wanted to treat our guys fairly, educate them, let them know what’s going on, show them the numbers. In an unfair situation, we tried to be as fair as possible to our guys.&uot;