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mac266

how to move up to NCAA?

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I got into this because I would like to move up to NCAA.  I'm currently doing everything from 8 year-olds through high school.  Yes, I'm still new and definitely not ready to move up to NCAA, but I'm thinking long term. 

My question is, how do I get there?  Do they have a selection process?  A school to attend, etc?  Does it vary by region and division?  Do they have different umpire associations for the various regions of NCAA (SEC, Big 12, Big 10, Pac 10, etc.)?  If it matters, I live in Colorado so games in the western region would make most sense. 

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Find out who assigns in your region and ask them. Tell them what you just said: you're new and ambitious, know you have to pay your dues, but want to move up.

Get NCAA training: find the clinics that you can get to (not easy during the pandemic, obviously). That's where you'll make connections that will facilitate getting some games.

Find reliable transportation. You'll be driving a lot: I live in an area with D1, D2, and D3 schools, and the NCAA guys still routinely drive 300 miles round trip for games.

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6 minutes ago, maven said:

Find out who assigns in your region and ask them. Tell them what you just said: you're new and ambitious, know you have to pay your dues, but want to move up.

Get NCAA training: find the clinics that you can get to (not easy during the pandemic, obviously). That's where you'll make connections that will facilitate getting some games.

Find reliable transportation. You'll be driving a lot: I live in an area with D1, D2, and D3 schools, and the NCAA guys still routinely drive 300 miles round trip for games.

Does the pay cover the travel expenses?

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1 minute ago, mac266 said:

Does the pay cover the travel expenses?

If you're asking: is the pay sufficient to offset mileage and whatnot, then the answer will depend on how far you have to go and how much you're paid. When you start, there's usually no travel expenses added to the game fee (D1 will have this, most lower levels will not). 

But of course you can deduct any unreimbursed expenses on your tax return.

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7 minutes ago, maven said:

If you're asking: is the pay sufficient to offset mileage and whatnot, then the answer will depend on how far you have to go and how much you're paid. When you start, there's usually no travel expenses added to the game fee (D1 will have this, most lower levels will not). 

But of course you can deduct any unreimbursed expenses on your tax return.

I live in a city with a D3 school and a D1 school.  Unfortunately I'm working on a master's degree through the D3 school.  I assume being an alumnus would prevent me from umpiring their games. 

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1 minute ago, mac266 said:

I live in a city with a D3 school and a D1 school.  Unfortunately I'm working on a master's degree through the D3 school.  I assume being an alumnus would prevent me from umpiring their games. 

I wouldn't assume that, especially for graduate degrees. Just make sure the assigner knows (he might need to take what he can get for D3).

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I would add that almost certainly some of the HS umpires you are working with also work NCAA.  They can help guide you as to how things work in your area.

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6 hours ago, maven said:

Find reliable transportation. You'll be driving a lot: I live in an area with D1, D2, and D3 schools, and the NCAA guys still routinely drive 300 miles round trip for games.

Change that to "one way" and you're closer to my experience. (But then again, I live in sparsely-populated Kansas.)

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mac266, go to a local game, D1 or D3, and introduce yourself to the umpires, if you get a chance. Talk with them, ask for their advice and suggestions.

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There are no shortcuts and no reputable association will ever assign an umpire to work at ANY level until they are 100% certain that umpire is fully prepared to work at that level. I agree with those above who said talk to your assignors. Ask your assignor to partner you with veteran umpires. They may not always be able to do so but, ask them. I would also chat with every partner for every game you get. Once you determine the umpire you are speaking with is working NCAA ball, ask them bluntly what it takes. But, save that conversation for post-game in the parking lot or post-game beers.

If there are days and times on your schedule where you do not have games, call your assignors and ask them, "Where are the best crews working today/tonight?" and then go watch them work. Take a pencil and paper and take notes. What do they do that you don't do? Why are they doing something differently than you? How is their appearance? How is your appearance? And so on...

You must learn 2-man to learn 3-man. 3-man leads to 4-man and 4-man leads to 6-man. There are no shortcuts.

You need to distinguish yourself as a balls and strikes man. The guys who call the zone best move up. Ask yourself after every game and ask your partner after every game...Did I miss any pitches tonight? If so, where were they? Track that information in a notebook with the game date. When you start to see trends? Missing breaking pitches, missing low, missing high...whatever the trend is, you know you have a problem. Talk to your assignors about getting cage time with veteran umpires. Video tape your cage sessions and break them down. Tell the people helping you where you are missing pitches so they know how to help you.

Umpiring is a skill that can never be perfected. You must always be in a state of self-improvement, evolution and study. Umpiring requires the same thought process and dedication to craft as any other job or career. Set a goal for yourself...in your case your goal is you want to umpire at the NCAA level. Now that you have a goal you need to create a plan on how you are going to get there. No two paths and no two plans are the same but, once you have established a plan, review it with your assignors and or a veteran umpire mentor. Revisit the plan often and set mini-goals for yourself so that you feel like you are taking steps towards that ultimate goal. There WILL be setbacks. You WILL make mistakes. Do you want your goal bad enough that you are willing to review these setbacks and mistakes and can you make the adjustments?

Finally, it's an investment of time and money but...go to camps. Camps will give you visibility to others and evaluations.

~Dog

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