Small colleges using sports to keep enrollment up

Tim Goral's picture
Monday, August 19, 2013

Brennan Azinger harbors no dreams of making it to the major leagues. In fact, if it weren't for a friend at a small college in Nebraska putting in a good word for him with the baseball coach, he wouldn't be playing beyond high school.

The coach invited the first baseman from Logan, Iowa, for a campus visit without having seen him play. This month, Azinger is starting his freshman year at Midland University as one of 70 players — yes, 70 — on the Warriors' roster.

Strength in numbers equates to strength of school for Midland, where more than 600 of its nearly 1,100 students are on its 25 sports teams.

"Most kids coming here know they're not going to get drafted," said Azinger, his mom next to him after he signed up for classes. "They're just playing for fun. They're getting their education." And Midland is getting dollars.

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