Updated Wed, Nov 6, 2013 11:12 am
Get drafted in the second round of the Major League Baseball draft: Check.
Make Major League debut: Check.
Record first MLB hit and home run: Check and check.
Though these seem like hefty chores in themselves, there is something else Marc Krauss is working to check off his list: Become a college graduate.
“I always knew Marc would come to back finish [his degree],” said his academic advisor and Ohio University professor Mary Rogus.
As a Bobcat, Krauss earned several honors and awards. As a freshman he was named to the Louisville Slugger Freshman All-America Team as well as earning All-MAC First Team honors, the first Bobcat freshman to be named to the First Team. Krauss also became just the second Ohio Bobcat to be named Mid-American Conference Freshman of the Year.
The next two years were much of the same. Krauss garnered two more All-MAC First Team honors as well as being named to the Academic All-MAC Team. In his junior season he made Ohio Bobcat history by being the first Bobcat to be named the MAC Player of the Year.
Drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks with 15th pick in the second round of the 2009 MLB draft, Krauss decided to forgo his senior season to join the Diamondbacks’ farm system. But he had to make a promise first.
“My mom made me promise that I would go back to get my degree.” Krauss said. He said he was given some flack as both of his parents are college graduates.
A benefit he saw from signing with the Diamondbacks was that Major League Baseball pays for its players to return to school to obtain their degrees. Major League Baseball includes a scholarship plan in the contract of its players.
Established in the early 1960s, the Major League Baseball Clubs established the Professional Baseball Scholarship Plan, otherwise known as the Plan. To eligible for the Plan, the player must negotiate for participation in the program in their first professional Minor League Uniform Player Contracts, according to MLB.com
The Plan covers tuition expenses up to the maximum amount as well as room and board and meals if the player is living on-campus. If the player is living off-campus, the player is reimbursed $35 per day.
“It’s great to see a professional sports league take an interest in what happens to their players after they are done with baseball,” said Rogus.
Krauss is only able to take classes in the fall and the winter intersession due to the strenuous schedule of spring training as well as a vigorous 162-game season.
As for doing school work during the season Krauss said it does get tough. He made his MLB debut on June 21, 2013, for the Houston Astros. After another brief stint in the minors, Krauss was recalled to the Astros for the final month of the season.
“I knew it would be an interesting month,” said Krauss, “[but] it gives me an escape when things might not be going well on the field.”
Krauss’s role on the Astros was as a platoon player. His primary positions were right and left field. He also played a few games as a designated hitter with a couple of appearances as a first baseman. He finished the season with a .209 batting average to go along with four home runs and 13 RBIs.
But even a solid Major League debut does not spell long-term success. In 2007, three demographers – one from the State University of New York at Buffalo and two from the University of Colorado – conducted a study on the careers of professional baseball position players. The study excluded pitchers as they are subject to more injuries.
The study found that on average a rookie can expect to play about 5.6 years for his career. The study also found that less than 50 percent of all rookie position players make it to their fifth season with about one in five position players playing just one season.
Knowing the reality of the situation, Krauss is prepared for a future outside of professional baseball. He has found another path for after he hops off the wave.
“Baseball won’t last forever.”