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MLB Continues Military Outreach with Columbia College
01/19/2010 5:55 PM ET
As a part of the ongoing spirit of partnership with the United States military, Major League Baseball has collaborated with Columbia College (MO), a leader in military-friendly education, on the development of a certificate of professional umpiring. Following the completion of online coursework in subjects relevant to sports officiating, the program incorporates a week-long training program at the annual MLB Umpire Camp, held each November at the MLB Urban Youth Academy in Compton, California.

The partnership with Columbia College (based in Columbia, Missouri, with 34 campus locations nationwide) is the MLB Umpiring Department's latest step in a series of initiatives that aim to provide career-oriented experiences to members of the military. During the 2009 World Baseball Classic last March, MLB and the Department of Military Affairs of the San Diego Padres organized a free one-day Umpire Camp for Marines at San Diego State University's Tony Gwynn Stadium. More than 100 Marines attended the special MLB Umpire Camp, receiving instruction from MLB staff on all facets of umpiring.

"Major League Baseball is pleased that its Umpire Camps can provide an educational outlet for the students of Columbia College who have interest in umpiring as a profession," said Jimmie Lee Solomon, MLB's Executive Vice President, Baseball Operations. "Our game as a whole has taken many steps to honor our nation's heroes. The Major League Umpires are thrilled to use the MLB Umpire Camp as a platform to work with these highly motivated and dedicated individuals as they consider potential careers in the next chapters of their lives."

Many members of the MLB Umpiring staff, including Mark Carlson (U.S. Marine Corps), Jerry Crawford (U.S. Army Reserve), Laz Diaz (U.S. Marine Corps), Randy Marsh (U.S. Army Reserve) and Ed Montague (U.S. Navy), have military experience.

Columbia College has helped military personnel, their family members and Department of Defense civilians earn college degrees during their service for more than 30 years, being recognized as one of the most military-friendly colleges in the country. One of every four students at Columbia College is in the military or is a military dependent, and 18 of the school's 34 extended campuses across the country are located on military bases.

"The certificate is a new and exciting concept for Columbia College," said Dr. Terry Smith, the school's Executive Vice President and Dean for Academic Affairs. "We are thrilled to partner with such a prestigious organization and together hope to produce a large cohort of highly-skilled baseball umpires for our communities."

The MLB Umpire Camp assists those interested in the field of umpiring in furthering the advancement of their college, high school and little league umpiring careers and also serves as a preparatory course to those considering a career as a Major League or Minor League umpire. The Camp provides world-class umpire training, going beyond classroom instruction and field work to also focus on rules interpretations, positioning, conditioning, nutrition, safety and equipment.

Additional information on the MLB Umpire Camps is available by visiting or The official web site of Columbia College is

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.