The surest sign that schools are investing more in college baseball these days can be found in the list of the most recent College World Series champions.
When UCLA and South Carolina complete their best-of-three championship series, it will mark the third time in five years that a school will be a first-time winner in Omaha. And, former LSU coach and athletic director Skip Bertman thinks that’s a great thing for the sport.
“Administrators are seeing the value and the economics of baseball,” Bertman said. “It may cost a million and a half to run the program, but you’re eventually going to make money. Right now, there are probably 60 great programs in America. Soon, there will be 90.”
Oregon State won back-to-back titles in 2006-07 and Fresno State broke through in 2008 before longtime power LSU won it all a year ago.
TCU of the Mountain West Conference made its CWS debut this year, and South Carolina and UCLA are both going for their first national titles in baseball.
“I think this year’s field, as it was last year, and I’m sure the years before that, do have the surprises,” said Tim Weiser, chairman of NCAA’s Division I baseball committee. “Last year, Southern Miss was a surprise, certainly TCU making it this year for the first time ever.