In his new role as an advisor for the Capital One Cup, a newly created award to honor school’s cumulative excellence in a number of college sports each year, Ventura couldn’t hide his excitement about the dramatic endings the award could add to the College World Series.
“The College World Series is the last event of the year, so competition for the cup could come down right until the series,” Ventura explained. “For example, if this award had existed last season, Florida would have been neck and neck with Stanford heading into the CWS, and if they had only gone farther in the series then they did, they would have won that year’s Cup.”
The former Oklahoma State player, Golden Spikes and Dick Howser Trophy winner is joined on the award’s advisory group with other successful college and professional athletes like the WNBA’s Lisa Leslie and former Boston College quarterback Doug Flutie. His work on the committee will involve mostly radio work and representation at the College World Series.
“I think it’s a great honor to be a part of the advisory group for this award,” he proclaimed. “It’s a great way for me to give back to college athletics.”
The award, which will award both men’s and women’s awards starting next June, will also give funding towards athletic scholarships at the winning institution. Baseball and softball are two of the sports included in the award’s tally.
Ventura is excited that the Capital Cup shines the spotlight on some sports that usually don’t get much attention from sports fans.
“Baseball is going to get the advantage, going to get that added boost, from being the last sport to play,” he said. “It’ll add extra inspiration to the teams to win, and to the programs to focus more on the College World Series.”
With the College World Series potentially being the deciding factor for the Cup, Ventura is eager to see what it brings to the College World Series, an event he’s seen as both a player and broadcaster. He acknowledges the differences the new TD Ameritrade Park Omaha will impact next season’s series, but can only see the benefits.
“It’s definitely going to be different this first time in the new stadium that anyone can really remember,” says Ventura about making his way to Omaha next June for ESPN and the Capital One Cup. “I took a look at the new stadium while I was there in June, and the facility is just awesome.”
“The College World Series is so unique. It’s about the people of Omaha as well as the baseball. The championship doesn’t move around, it’s always in Omaha, so it really gets to have a home. The residents of Omaha really get to play a big part of it.”