Is the DRSEA Only a Dominican Baseball Academy?
The Dominican Republic Sports and Education Academy is being patterned after a baseball academy in Puerto Rico that has had a high success rate of placing baseball players there on U.S. college teams. The Puerto Rican academy opened in 2003 with about 100 students, 110 have gone on to accept athletic scholarships at U.S. colleges and universities, and 29 to colleges and universities in Puerto Rico. Thirty two from there graduated with honors from the Puerto Rico academy.
Thirty six of the baseball academy graduates were selected in baseball’s amateur draft; six have signed professional contracts.
“As you can see, this doesn’t prevent kids from becoming professional baseball players, and may even augment their chances,” Farrell said. “But for those unable to pursue professional baseball, or who don’t want to go that route, a college education is their option. And that education will make them capable and productive citizens the rest of their lives, hopeful contributing to making their country better.”
The Dominican academy will originally open to 14 and 15 year olds, or high school freshmen and sophomore, with a few upperclassmen who are academically prepared, then will add a class each year, in order to provide the needed time for comprehensive education, while also receiving skilled coaching in baseball. Some academy students can even opt for U.S. college preparatory schools, which Farrell said will also be in the market for academically and athletically gifted athletes who will be carefully screened and selected for their success potential. The DRSEA will be much more than a Dominican baseball academy.
The academy will be open to all international students, with Dominicans receiving priority. Cost of attending the Academy will be based on ability to pay. Over time, the sports and education academy plans to expand to include other sports, Farrell said.
The initial cost of building the academy is estimated at $15 million, Farrell said, and benefactors from a number of perspectives are being sought. Naming rights to such facilities as the gymnasium and the academy baseball stadium are available, but the academy will basically rely on sponsorships, donations and hosting tournaments and other events to raise money to build and operate the academy.
Sports Perspectives International is also working with a group of developers in the Dominican Republic on the land acquisition for the academy, and have worked out a unique arrangement that will not only provide the land, but construction and operating funds. If investors get involved in some of the development projects available – including hotels, resorts, condominium, marinas and more, the developers are committed to making the land available for the academy. Also, investors, who stand to gain substantial returns from the development acceleration in the Dominican Republic, would be expected to plow some of their profits into the non-profit academy. “We see this as a win-win opportunity for all involved,” Farrell said.
California mortgage banker and real estate professional Steve Goodridge, who has been developing projects in the Dominican Republic for 18 years, said the time is golden for investment opportunities in the Dominican Republic. “The government is stable, the economy growing, and development is off the charts. These investments can and will be extremely lucrative.”
But Goodridge said the proposed sports and education academy can be a direct beneficiary of the inevitable development and investment in the Dominican Republic. “The development countrywide is happening, and so is investment in the development from a global perspective, but for a first class educational and athletic facility to be established as well, creates an entity that gives back to the county in a positive way, and will create its own legacy by developing players who will benefit from a U.S. college education, colleges will benefit from their contributions, and, whether they make it in baseball or not, become productive citizens in their own country.”
Dominican baseball academy? No much more.