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'Never been better': College baseball administrators discuss state of the game

Posted at 9:57 PM, Jun 13, 2024

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — It's the 74th year of the Men's College World Series and leaders behind college baseball say the state of the game is in good shape.

  • College baseball leaders discussed the growth of the sport highlighting viewership, the selection process for the tournament and the energy on the field.
  • Fans like Joe Dalfonso know about the changes off the field but are most excited about the changes on the field.
  • Next year marks 75 years of the Men's College World Series

BROADCAST TRANSCRIPT:

"College baseball in my opinion has never been better with the attendance and certainly the TV viewership,” Craig Keilitz, ABCA executive director.

It's that type of play that brings fans of all ages to Omaha.

But the field is changing in college athletics right now, with the approval of a settlement between the NCAA and athletes on the horizon that could impact the distribution of money to athletes in the future.

"The mosaic is going to change maybe within that institution or that campus but as we are seeing today and with this event, this sport is right up there at the top of interest and commitment for institutions as high as any sport out there," said Matt Hogue with the division 1 baseball committee.

Fans like Joe Dalfonso know about the changes off the field but are most excited about the changes on the field.

"It's so different now, I mean metal bats for one thing," Dalfonso said. “The strategy is about the same, but the players seem to be bigger, faster, stronger and that makes for great entertainment."

But there are some changes that not everyone loves.

"I am old and I’m old school, I am not a fan of the NIL and the portal and all that stuff. Starting to pay players to play, is I just I think it's harmful for the game," said Jay Eckhouse, former baseball coach at Illinois College.

At a press conference Thursday baseball leaders discussed the growth of the sport highlighting viewership, the selection process for the tournament and the energy on the field.

"That's what we want to see with this tournament and certainly with this pinnacle event, one of the elite sporting events in the world here in Omaha, is that type of joy that we are watching these guys play with," Hogue said.

Next year marks 75 years of the championship in Omaha.

"We do our best to make every team feel like they are home team,” Jack Diesing Jr. with CWS Omaha said.

Diesing Jr. says they are always looking to make the event better, but fans say, "I love the City of Omaha, they bring the best 8 teams here, we see great baseball, listen, it's not broken so don't change it," Dalfonso said.

Diesing Jr. says having new teams like Kentucky in town brings new people to the stadium which helps with a lot of things like growing the sport.