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State's Polk says NCAA enemy' of college baseball

By By Shawn Wansley / EMG staff writer
July 28, 2003
Mississippi State University head baseball coach Ron Polk leaves no doubt where he stands when it comes to the NCAA and its relationship with college baseball.
Polk made those comments while visiting Laurel over the weekend, where he was the keynote speaker at the Dixie Majors World Series Banquet on Friday.
Mississippi State posted a 42-20-1 record this past season and advanced to host the NCAA Starkville Regional, where they finished second to North Carolina. The Bulldogs, however, had eight players drafted off of that team
and one of their high school recruits, Cullman (Ala.) infielder Michael Rutledge, was drafted, but has not signed.
Polk says it's a constant battle to fight Major League Baseball for underclassmen and recruits.
Maholm, a left-handed pitcher, was a first-round pick of the Pittsburgh Pirates and signed a $2.2 million signing bonus. Papelbon, a right-handed pitcher, went to the Boston Red Sox in the fourth round.
Mississippi State has gone after top-line high school players in years past. However, many of those players have signed professional baseball contracts before ever coming to Starkville, leaving the Bulldogs high and dry. Polk says Mississippi State has to adjust is recruiting style somewhat.
Polk said Mississippi State would open the 2004 season with the annual National Bank of Commerce Classic, which will feature Illinois of the Big Ten and Western Kentucky of the Sun Belt Conference.
And a highly anticipated home series with the University of Southern California Trojans is also on the books, in addition to the usual 30 Southeastern Conference games and traditional non-conference games with Southern Mississippi and New Orleans, among others.
Earlier this summer, the Rice Owls captured the College World Series by taking two of three games from Stanford. It was the first time the best-of-three format was used for the championship and Polk said it was a
League did for the All-Star game.
it's something that's going to happen for a long time down the road.
Polk knows a little bit about Omaha. He is one of only two coaches to take three different schools to the Division I-A CWS Mississippi State, Georgia and Georgia Southern.