Skip to Content

Types of Baseballs Used in Colleges

Navigating college baseball programs can feel like wandering through a labyrinth with all its different organizations and divisions, so let’s break it down.


In the world of college baseball, your choice between attending a two-year community (junior) college or a four-year college or university will largely dictate which association your school might be part of. The big three in this arena are the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), and the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA).

Aside from these, there are other associations catering to smaller colleges and specific regions, such as the Northwest Athletic Conference (NWAC), California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA), the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA), and the United States Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA). However, we won’t be diving into these associations in this overview.

NCAA baseballs

The NCAA calls the shots for over 1,100 colleges and universities, keeping nearly 500,000 student-athletes busy across 24 sports split into three divisions: Division I, II, and III. In 2013, NCAA D1 Baseball Committee voted to switch from raised-seams to livelier, lower and flat-seam baseball (Rawlings FSR1NCAA), starting in the 2015 season.

NCAA Official Baseball – Exploded Diagram

NCAA baseballs and MLB/MiLB baseballs look almost identical to the naked eye. However, the NCAA rulebook mandates that the COR (coefficient of restitution) value of their baseballs must not exceed 0.555. Despite this, there are vague reports suggesting that the NCAA and Rawlings have increased the COR to about 0.570 to boost home run numbers. This comes against the backdrop of the MLB’s own controversies over “juiced baseballs.”

To shed more light on this issue, I’ve reached out to a variety of NCAA Division I, II, and III coaches for their insights. If you’re one of these coaches, your comments below would be greatly appreciated!

NAIA baseballs

On the other side, the NAIA might seem smaller with its 250 colleges and universities where 82% of schools are private, and 65% are rooted in faith. Even though they’re the underdog compared to the NCAA, over 77,000 athletes are competing under the NAIA banner.

NAIA has an agreement with Rawlings to produce flat seamed baseballs (model FSR100NAIA). FSR100NAIA seems identical to FSR1 in terms of size, COR and materials.

NJCAA (JUCO) baseballs

The NJCAA serves as a crucial development ground for athletes attending two-year or junior colleges (sometimes referred to as JUCO ball). Many students choose junior colleges to hone their skills, improve their academic standing, or simply get more playing time before moving on to four-year colleges. Just as with NCAA baseball, there are divisions (I, II, II) within the junior college level.

In June 2019, the NJCAA announced a five- year agreement with Diamond D1-PRO LS (low Seam) model as the official baseball.

Diamond D1-PRO LS baseballs have comparable performance characteristics that of Rawlings FRS1 baseballs.

Please don’t forget to visit Buying Baseballs – Reference Articles page to read other fascinating information about baseballs!