TCU baseball’s Jim Schlossnagle talks opening of Big 12 play
TCU baseball coach Jim Schlossnagle hopes the Big 12 doesn’t embarrass itself when a vote to add a third full-time assistant coach is held later this month.
TCU athletic director Jeremiah Donati is in full support of the SEC-led proposal, although he’s in the minority of most of the conference’s ADs. As of now, according to a report by Kendall Rogers of D1Baseball.com, only four of the 10 ADs in the Big 12 support the proposal.
Schlossnagle is hopeful that the league’s AD reconsider their positions and vote ‘yes.’
“Right now it’s certainly a lot of egg on the face of the Big 12, if what everybody is reporting is true,” Schlossnagle said after Sunday’s TCU game.
“It could pass without the Big 12 and, to me, that would be doubly embarrassing. I don’t care what excuse you come up with. You can come up with excuses for softball or whatever you come up with -- there’s literally nothing you can stand on to not vote for this.”
The Big 12 and Big Ten are the only Power Five conferences not in support of the proposal at this point.
The proposal has given some pause, such as Texas athletic director Chris Del Conte, because the original proposal focused on baseball only. It has since included an option for a third full-time assistant softball coach.
Of course, schools aren’t obligated to add additional assistants in either sport, if the proposal is approved. Right now, schools have two full-time assistants and a volunteer coach and can maintain that setup if desired.
Another option is turning the role into a graduate assistant or part-time position. At the end of the day, Schlossnagle feels like it’s a no-brainer considering these sports already face uphill battles in terms of scholarships.
Baseball has only 11.7 scholarships to divvy up among its players.
“This is a student-athlete welfare issue first and foremost,” Schlossnagle said. “And then it’s an opportunity to develop young coaches. We do nothing in our sport to develop young coaches with the exception of this volunteer coach thing, which is a farce.”
Asked what a third full-time assistant would mean to his program, Schlossnagle said: “Everything. Coaching the team and taking pressure off the other coaches who have to do the bulk of the recruiting.
“We have to recruit these kids earlier and earlier, and go watch more and more games. But we also have to coach the team and give more attention to our players. If college baseball is going to continue to be about development, then we need more coaches, one more full-time coach, to develop coaches.”
Schlossnagle raved about Donati being supportive of the issue. Donati, along with ADs from Kansas, Baylor and Kansas State, are firm votes of ‘yes’ on the issue. Schools such as Texas, Oklahoma and Texas Tech have expressed concern over it, as well as West Virginia.
Texas and Oklahoma may be the most surprising given how much money each school generates through its athletics programs.
Schlossnagle has talked with Del Conte, the former TCU AD, on the subject, and hopes Del Conte reconsiders his position when it goes to a final vote. Schlossnagle is also disappointed Oklahoma isn’t on board yet.
“Chris is for it for baseball,” Schlossnagle said of Del Conte. “The reason he didn’t vote for it, at least yet, is because of the softball side of it, which I get. But I’m a baseball coach, so I don’t have to be sensitive of that.
“I can’t speak for Oklahoma, but it’s certainly disappointing they’re not behind it.”
TCU does not have a softball program, something that Donati acknowledged when asked about his vote. But, as Donati reiterated, schools aren’t obligated to add a full-time assistant if the budget or other circumstances prevent it from doing so.
This simply gives schools the option to do so.
“Jim and I have always been on the same page because we feel it could give us a competitive advantage,” Donati said. “We’re always going to support everything possible to give our team a competitive advantage.”
If it gets approved, Schlossnagle and TCU will be thrilled.
As Schlossnagle said, “We’re prepared. We’ve budgeted a salary for it and TCU is ready to roll.”