NCAA delays season start

By Lindsey Frazier
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday, January 12, 2006

Life may not always be fair, and neither is the weather.

In an effort to increase parity among Division I baseball programs, the NCAA voted Monday that preseason practices will not begin until Feb. 1. This legislation could go into affect as early as next season. The regular season would then start the last weekend of February with the hope of leveling the playing field between warm- and cold-climate schools.

The Wildcats held their first spring practice yesterday in 75 degrees of sunshine and open the season against Loyola Marymount on Feb. 3.

"I was very disappointed," said Arizona head coach Andy Lopez. "The next thing I'm looking for is they're going to move football (practice) back so that (Arizona head football coach) Mike (Stoops) doesn't have to have his guys out there in August.

"It's hot out here in August. That's not fair, is it? That's not fair to have those guys in football pads in August."

With the later start, the College World Series - which will take place June 16-26 this season - may be pushed back, although the NCAA still hopes to conclude the College World Series before July 1.

Lopez said he did not know if the new legislation would force teams to play more than three games a week. Doing so could hurt a program financially and also hinder student-athletes' class schedules.

"It will be very interesting for the University of Arizona and Arizona State," he added. "Who are we going to get to fly in here on a Tuesday or a Wednesday and play midweek games? We're going to be affected financially. We're going to have to come up with some money. And then you're going to have to find someone that doesn't care about their guys missing class to come here and play one game on a Tuesday."

Lopez noted that adding more games to a week would require additional depth, especially for pitchers, while the number of scholarships allotted to baseball programs would not change.

The Arizona baseball team currently has 11.7 scholarships for 34 athletes.

"I guess they just didn't want good weather schools (to be) successful in the postseason," Lopez said.