Ypsilanti, Michigan – The Eagles soared as Eastern Michigan University rolled out the red carpet to receive the iCASE Baseball Academy team with an impressive campus tour, an invitation to watch their baseball team intersquad, an insider peek at their outstanding athletic facilities, and a chat with head coach Jay Armstrong.
Armstrong, who has four Canadians currently on his roster, offered an honest, candid perspective to the iCASE student-athletes, outlining the facts that in-state tuition/books amounts to about seven thousand dollars, while out-of-staters are required to pay about three times that. Room and board is another eight-to-ten thousand, depending on the room type and meal plan.
“We only have 11.7 baseball scholarships to spread out among the entire roster, so if a player is looking to have his education at EMU subsidized, he’d better bring us a pretty impressive transcript,” said the former standout shortstop, who played against iCASE field manager/GM Tom Valcke a couple of decades ago in the Michigan Federal League.
“If you can show me a 3.5 grade point average, I’m confident that you won’t have to worry about that out-of-state twenty grand, because we have academic scholarship money that can cover that off. From there, depending on what you have to contribute to our team, I should be able to swing a bit of baseball scholarship money towards your room and board. That means you’ll be playing USA college baseball for a lot cheaper than whatever university you’d be attending in Canada.
Valcke praised the Eagles program for their warm hospitality, the classy manner in which the day was handled, the surprisingly large yet wholesome feeling about life on campus, and for Armstrong’s candor in addressing the group of about 50 that included iCASE players, parents and siblings, as well as the Ontario Phillies Fall Ball program run by Jamie Frey.
“Jay coaches exactly the way he played, no-nonsense, aggressive, and he expects everyone around him to care as much as he does, and put out the effort that he does, or you’re going to hear about it. As an opponent, he was an opportunist, who capitalized on any mistake you made when you played against him,” Valcke said as the day concluded.
“Too many players think that their ticket is going to be punched based on how they hit, throw, field and run. Those tools are certainly what gets a US college coach’s attention, but if you’re looking at realistically heading south of the border to play baseball, and you want to avoid your family having to take out a second mortgage on their house in order to pay four years of out-of-state schooling fees, then you must be as committed to your grades in high school as you are to your baseball development. One won’t happen without the other.”
The visit took place on October 18, the day before iCASE took part in the USSSA Fall tournament in Farmington Hills, Michigan.