Last Saturday I planned to sit down and use this very space to tell you how terrible it was that Oregon State had voted against a proposal that would have allowed universities to pay a third assistant coach for baseball and softball.
The night before I had read many posts on Twitter about how disappointed the fan base was after that realization and how it felt athletic director Scott Barnes didn’t support baseball.
I will be honest, at first I thought it was a terrible look for a university that 10 months ago saw its baseball program win its third national championship in 13 years.
However, I was not able to speak directly with Barnes. And after spending a few minutes discussing it more with a former coworker who was also tracking the story, it was evident I needed more context to make an informed opinion.
It turned out to be a good move.
Thankfully, Barnes was able to carve out some time on Monday to sit down and go discuss the four-person committee’s thoughts on why the school ultimately voted against the proposal as it was written.
While the Pac-12 as a conference was a yes vote, Oregon State and California both voted against it and were in the majority in voting it down.
It’s not that Oregon State is against adding an assistant coach in baseball, but there was one major sticking point and a couple other minor ones that ultimately, in Barnes’ and the committee’s eyes, made it difficult to vote to pass the legislation.
The late addition of softball to proposal — it still surprises me no one is exactly sure when it was attached to the legislation — caused the most concern as Barnes said the committee didn’t have enough time to thoroughly vet how that would impact the school.
That rationale didn’t sit well with some, who noted it was not mandatory to pay for a third assistant if the school didn’t want to.
However, as Barnes said, if it had passed schools would almost have to add the position to remain competitive since that third assistant would be allowed to hit the recruiting trail.
So why not add an assistant for just baseball?
That optic would also be a tough one, especially for softball coach Laura Berg. Hey Laura, we have the power to provide you another coach but we aren’t going to. Yeah, I would want to have that conversation.
Barnes also said he would have liked to see the addition of a third paid assistant and to keep the volunteer spot so it would help lower the player-to-coach ratio.
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That number with the volunteer is about 8.5-1. Adding another coaching position would make it about 7-1.
Softball’s ratio with two assistants and a volunteer, as is currently the case, is about 5.5-1.
Barnes also wants to look at increasing the scholarship number that sits at 11.7 for baseball. The average roster for a program is between 30 and 35.
Men’s basketball has 13 and women’s basketball 15. Softball has 12 with a roster size typically around 22.
Still, if softball had not been attached to this particular piece of legislation, it sounds like Oregon State, even without having the proposal address some of Barnes’ concerns, would have voted for it.
Barnes’ hope, when speaking with him last Monday, was that they could go back to the drawing board, have a baseball only proposal that includes keeping the volunteer position while adding a third paid assistant spot, and, possibly, addressing increasing the scholarship number.
While I left Barnes’ office Monday feeling like that was a good idea, it appears it may take some time before a similar proposal will be able to be brought to the Division I council for a vote.
According to Kendall Rogers of D1baseball.com, it could be Spring 2022.
Rogers has been a bulldog on providing information on this proposal and actually started Beaver Nation’s frustration when he posted that Barnes had voted against it.
I know Barnes was a little frustrated that Rogers didn’t reach out to find out why before posting on Twitter, and I can understand that.
The headline was definitely not pleasant for Oregon State, and without context it can lead to a misunderstanding of the situation.
Even with context and gathering a few more details, you may come to the same conclusion.
But for me, taking that extra time certainly helped to understand the process the committee took as well as what I felt were valid reasons why it decided to vote against the proposal.
I can’t fault it, but do hope the school is proactive in trying to make the changes it feels are needed in the sport.