Students with a passion for baseball have a second chance to play through the on-campus club baseball program.
The TCU Club Baseball team is more relaxed than TCU’s NCAA baseball team, said Philip Anderson, the team's president and coach, and a senior mechanical engineering major.
“This is an opportunity for people who weren’t able to make the TCU baseball team, who may have aspirations to," Anderson said. "People also have the ability to develop their skills and try out again the next year. ”
Anderson tried out for the NCAA Baseball team this year and didn’t make it. His teammate and vice president of the club, Justin Unger, tried out for the team as well. Also a coach on the team, Unger is a senior kinesiology major.
“School is obviously my No. 1 priority, but baseball is my life,” Unger said.
Unger said the team's biggest priority is to have as much fun as possible.
TCU Club Baseball is a member of the NCBA Division II, the second leg of the main association. Within this organization, TCU plays in the "Division VII – West" conference.
There are six teams in this division, and 200 teams total in the NCBA. The six teams in TCU’s division are University of Houston-Downtown, Rice University, Texas A&M University Corps of Cadets, The University of Texas at San Antonio, Victoria College and TCU.
The team is on a “pay-to-play” policy, Anderson said. The players who pay their dues for the field, practice fields and NCBA fees are allowed to play. There are no try-outs and 20 men are on the roster, Anderson said.
The NCBA was founded in 2000 by Greg “Sandy” Sanderson. He started this association after being denied a position on the Penn State baseball team. Sanderson was more interested in playing for a championship than bragging rights, said Christian Smith, the Mid-Atlantic regional director for the NCBA.
TCU Club Baseball received many benefits for joining the NCBA. The club pays an annual league fee to the NCBA of $1500. In return, they receive two free bats, a supply of baseballs and are added on the NCBA's $2-million general liability insurance policy.
Smith said that once students find out they will be competing for a national championship, they jump on board.
“These kids aren’t playing for scholarships. They know that they’re not going to be a major league baseball player after graduating college," Smith said. "They just play because they love baseball. They are players that are truly playing for the love of the game, [and] I think a lot of people will respect that."
The club’s home field is Rockwood Park in Fort Worth, where they practice once a week. The team has batting practice at The Batter's Cave in Arlington.
TCU Baseball Club will play a three-game series against their rival, The University of North Texas. The series begins this weekend on Friday at Rockwood Park.