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How to become an NCAA umpire???


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I am going this year! I'm super stoked about it, even if there's no MiLB placement. I've been looking forward to it for 5 years now, so I don't mind going twice. 

I went to Harry’s this year. I was hired into MiLB and returned to a full college and HS schedule 

Short answer is yes. They are looking for the best umpires period. They don’t care where you come from, if you can work you can work. 

It's different from region to region. In general, each conference has a coordinator of officials that maintains their umpire staff. Those coordinators usually will drop some umpires and add some umpires each year. Usually, a great place to meet these coordinators would be at a camp in your region, though not all of them would necessarily be there. I would speak with and get to know college umpires in your area. Start with community college, NAIA and D3. This may not be a great year to find a camp because most of not all of them are likely not happening because of COVID.

 

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I will second @grayhawk's comment. You need to go to a camp that has college coordinators in attendance. I would stay within or close to your region when you are starting out. The umpire net gets smaller and smaller the higher up the ladder that you go, so someone knows someone no matter where you go. I would suggest going to a two umpire camp to begin with as that is what you would be working at most college levels up to D2. Get your foot in the door, be in shape/get in better shape, work hard and show improvement and if you can work, you can advance. 

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It really depends on your area and the level you desire.  If D1, definitely need to go to camps, maybe even umpire school.  If just wanting to dabble in lower levels, a couple camps and the right network and you’ll get games obviously assuming you’re competent.  In my area they are often begging guys to work even up to the D2 level, especially mid week games although many areas are not like that.  However, be prepared to travel, often for no compensation. Availability is huge in the college season.  Assignors love guys that have flexible schedules. Since games get rescheduled so much, being able to work games at the drop of the hat (Again mid week) can really help get your foot in the door. 

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2 hours ago, zoops said:

It really depends on your area and the level you desire.  If D1, definitely need to go to camps, maybe even umpire school.  If just wanting to dabble in lower levels, a couple camps and the right network and you’ll get games obviously assuming you’re competent.  In my area they are often begging guys to work even up to the D2 level, especially mid week games although many areas are not like that.  However, be prepared to travel, often for no compensation. Availability is huge in the college season.  Assignors love guys that have flexible schedules. Since games get rescheduled so much, being able to work games at the drop of the hat (Again mid week) can really help get your foot in the door. 

The flexibility is key. I've only been working college baseball for 3 years and can't tell you how many times a Friday-Sunday set as turned into a Saturday-Monday or even a Sunday-Tuesday.

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On 6/18/2020 at 11:07 AM, JSam21 said:

The flexibility is key. I've only been working college baseball for 3 years and can't tell you how many times a Friday-Sunday set as turned into a Saturday-Monday or even a Sunday-Tuesday.

Or even more important? Picking up the phone when the assigner calls and asks you to work a game tomorrow. Or even more so that day.

And you can respond with "I am leaving now!"

There is a saying in umpiring. And college umpiring especially! THE BEST ABILITY, IS AVAILABILITY! 

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On 6/29/2020 at 1:13 AM, BT_Blue said:

Or even more important? Picking up the phone when the assigner calls and asks you to work a game tomorrow. Or even more so that day.

And you can respond with "I am leaving now!"

There is a saying in umpiring. And college umpiring especially! THE BEST ABILITY, IS AVAILABILITY! 

That's been the rule at every level I've worked or know about.

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4 hours ago, Beacher80 said:

Question for the high level guys out there .... do the big conferences (sec, acc, B10, b12) still hire guys from lower D1/DII? 

I've been told by an evaluator at a camp that many of the big conferences only hire umps who have left AA/AAA.

Short answer is yes. They are looking for the best umpires period. They don’t care where you come from, if you can work you can work. 

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2 hours ago, JSam21 said:

Short answer is yes. They are looking for the best umpires period. They don’t care where you come from, if you can work you can work. 

The longer answer is still yes, but it's getting harder and harder to get hired without pro ball experience, specifically at the AA/AAA level. There aren't many power 5 openings a year, and, as JSam said, they're looking for the best umpires available. There are always gonna be a few guys getting released from/quitting pro ball, and they've just spent 4-10 years working over 100 games a year with the best players, umpires, and standards. They've been 100% focused on umpiring in that time, without a primary job interfering. So, you either have to be better than some of those guys leaving pro ball, or there needs to be more openings than guys leaving pro ball that want to work college ball. It can be done, you're just starting at a disadvantage, 'cause those guys are good. 

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Thank you.  That's helpful, and it makes sense.   The minor league guys have been doing it at a high level full time.  

Been thinking of going to pro school, but with an eye towards the college ranks because I don't want to leave my day job.   But covid is making the idea of a month in Florida less than appealing.  

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2 hours ago, Beacher80 said:

Thank you.  That's helpful, and it makes sense.   The minor league guys have been doing it at a high level full time.  

Been thinking of going to pro school, but with an eye towards the college ranks because I don't want to leave my day job.   But covid is making the idea of a month in Florida less than appealing.  

It sounds like going to Wendelstedt this year might be something worth considering for you. Since there's no professional jobs available, they're offering placement into summer collegiate leagues out of school this year. That would probably interfere with your day job come June/July/August, but it's a good opportunity to jump start a college baseball career. 

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2 hours ago, Stk004 said:

It sounds like going to Wendelstedt this year might be something worth considering for you. Since there's no professional jobs available, they're offering placement into summer collegiate leagues out of school this year. That would probably interfere with your day job come June/July/August, but it's a good opportunity to jump start a college baseball career. 

 

Thank you Stk, pretty sure thats the road I'm going to take.   I've been in touch with an instructor from Harry's.   I work for myself so summer leagues would be right up my alley.

Anybody else on here go to pro school and then return home to their day job and doing hs/college games?

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6 hours ago, Beacher80 said:

 

Thank you Stk, pretty sure thats the road I'm going to take.   I've been in touch with an instructor from Harry's.   I work for myself so summer leagues would be right up my alley.

Anybody else on here go to pro school and then return home to their day job and doing hs/college games?

I did, what feels like a lifetime ago.  Went to the Evans school in '08.  Came back to my job, and just working for different umpire orgs since.  No college yet, although I haven't really put in the hard yards for it.

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7 hours ago, Beacher80 said:

 

Thank you Stk, pretty sure thats the road I'm going to take.   I've been in touch with an instructor from Harry's.   I work for myself so summer leagues would be right up my alley.

Anybody else on here go to pro school and then return home to their day job and doing hs/college games?

I went to Harry’s this year. I was hired into MiLB and returned to a full college and HS schedule 

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7 hours ago, Beacher80 said:

 

Thank you Stk, pretty sure thats the road I'm going to take.   I've been in touch with an instructor from Harry's.   I work for myself so summer leagues would be right up my alley.

Anybody else on here go to pro school and then return home to their day job and doing hs/college games?

I don't know exactly what your goals are, but pro school is hardly a prerequisite to work college ball. I'll be working my first NCAA games next year, and I am still a few years from when I plan on going to school. If you work hard, read everything you can about umpiring, attend clinics, and, I believe this to be the most important part, network, you can get into college ball. Networking has been super important to me, not only because I have met those people who can give me opportunities, but also because I have found people I can ask questions from, and know that the answers I get back are correct. Once you can recite the book, it is the tiny nuggets from people better than yourself that help you to continue to grow and improve. 

Please don't take this to mean you shouldn't go to school. I haven't, but I know many people who have, and, without fail, they have all said it was ann amazing time and they learned a ton about umpiring. If you have the time, money, and availability, you will not regret going to school. My main point is that it is a prerequisite to getting into pro ball, but NOT college ball.

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Pretty sure someone has brought this up. But Umpire Placement Course (umpirecourse.com) has a bunch of leagues they supply to all over the country. From Northwoods (midwest) to West Coast League (Northwest) to Pecos (down south) and many more. And from all accounts the owner, John White, is as stand up a dude as they come.

That is a one week course that happens right after Wendelstadt. And I believe there are discount rates for guys that stay after Harry's and attend UPC.

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11 hours ago, BT_Blue said:

Pretty sure someone has brought this up. But Umpire Placement Course (umpirecourse.com) has a bunch of leagues they supply to all over the country. From Northwoods (midwest) to West Coast League (Northwest) to Pecos (down south) and many more. And from all accounts the owner, John White, is as stand up a dude as they come.

That is a one week course that happens right after Wendelstadt. And I believe there are discount rates for guys that stay after Harry's and attend UPC.

UPC actually had to change their dates for 2021, so that camp is happening January 18-24. Any normal year you're exactly right though. 

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8 minutes ago, Stk004 said:

UPC actually had to change their dates for 2021, so that camp is happening January 18-24. Any normal year you're exactly right though. 

Spencer, you going this year? We have a guy from up here that is going. And I'm all kinds of jealous about it. Lol

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7 minutes ago, BT_Blue said:

Spencer, you going this year? We have a guy from up here that is going. And I'm all kinds of jealous about it. Lol

I am going this year! I'm super stoked about it, even if there's no MiLB placement. I've been looking forward to it for 5 years now, so I don't mind going twice. 

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Based on what they told us on a conference call Wendelstedt has partnered with UPC and John White, and those same wood bat leagues that he assigns.... North Woods, West Coast ... Harry's is going to have 30 jobs for those leagues that they can assign.   This was done because the UPC and Harry's schools overlap this year.

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On 11/27/2020 at 6:38 PM, Beacher80 said:

Question for the high level guys out there .... do the big conferences (sec, acc, B10, b12) still hire guys from lower D1/DII? 

I've been told by an evaluator at a camp that many of the big conferences only hire umps who have left AA/AAA.

The area you are going to has had some change the last handful of years at the college level as associations have moved around a bit. I believe it was 2015 when Jim Paranto took over the RMAC in addition to Mountain West duties. The key as others have said, is to go to a comp where he will be an evaluator and be able to be seen by Dr. Paranto. if those are your aspirations.
The problem with CO is there is not a single D3 baseball program in the state. As someone who lived in New Mexico it made entry into college baseball much tougher. The JUCO route is where you have to connect with those assignors and cut your teeth to move up the ranks.
 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 11/30/2020 at 1:00 PM, Stk004 said:

I am going this year! I'm super stoked about it, even if there's no MiLB placement. I've been looking forward to it for 5 years now, so I don't mind going twice. 

Is anyone else on here going to the Placement Course?  

Do they have live games?

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On 11/30/2020 at 7:29 PM, Beacher80 said:

Harry's is going to have 30 jobs for those leagues that they can assign.   This was done because the UPC and Harry's schools overlap this year.

Please don't look at it as a fixed number. Best way to go into that, or any "hiring" event, is to think that they might have a position, and "I'm going to do the best job I'm capable of" to compel someone to make a judgement or choice. 

If they favor what you're doing and the potential you carry, they'll find a job for ya. 

1 hour ago, Beacher80 said:

Is anyone else on here going to the Placement Course?  

Do they have live games?

I have before, and may go again, depending on how in panic over the specter of COVID our society is still acting. I might be in the middle of a (delayed) soccer season, or part of the organizational group preparing for (fingers crossed!) an actual high school and NAIA baseball season. 

They have had live games, but again, in this... paranoid environment... we don't know what the arrangements may be. The umpire schools and UPC do a remarkable good job of mixing classroom, practicals, and live ball applications. Live games are the real way to make a protocol stick. It never ceases to amaze me that, during classes and practicals, there's always "that guy" (or guys, plural) who brings up these third-world, once-in-a-career plays with all these complexities, and yet, get the guy on a live ball field, and he misses blatant interference (or obstruction). Live games are the crucible. 

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