College Baseball Nation welcomes guest writer Larry Horn for his thoughts on how COVID-19 is affecting college baseball.
It’s hard to believe that it is mid-May with no conference championships in sight. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping across the world, there are many changes in college baseball--and that’s especially true for the MLB Draft.
Only five rounds in the MLB draft
One of the biggest changes directly affecting college baseball is a five-round draft process happening in 2020, down from the typical 40 rounds. Not only will fewer players be given the opportunity to join professional baseball, but there will also be a significant financial impact for hundreds of players. In the 2019 MLB Draft, 400 players drafted in the sixth round or later received six-figure signing bonuses which will obviously not happen this year.
Any player that does not get drafted in the 2020 MLB Draft will be offered a maximum of $20,000 to sign. This may turn players away from pursuing a career in baseball or at the very least force players to return for another season of college baseball.
However, returning for another season of college baseball is not a perfect solution for undrafted players. The 2021 MLB Draft will pull from a larger draft class that will contain even more talent. The MLB also has the right to shrink the 2021 Draft which may make next year’s draft even more competitive.
As for college baseball, with the return of so many players for an additional year and the addition of the freshman class, 2021 college baseball teams may be the most talented ever. The on-the-field product should be exceptional.
COVID-19 & Financial Uncertainty
COVID-19 is wreaking even more havoc in the college baseball world. Several schools are in danger of losing their baseball program due to decreased revenue caused by the pandemic. Bowling Green State University and Furman University were the first two schools to announce the discontinuation of their baseball programs, and Chicago State plans to vote on the issue next month.
Many conferences and teams may opt for shorter seasons with little or no interleague play to reduce travel costs. For example, the Colonial Athletic Association, Big East Conference and Atlantic 10 Conference are in talks for a regional scheduling agreement to help reduce travel costs. Everyone is thinking about ways to alleviate financial pressures.
Additionally, there are some questions about fall baseball and what impact that may have on the 2021 season. Would the season need to be pushed back if some schools are not able to play fall ball? Each week there is more uncertainty about what will happen next year.
It is difficult to say what the 2021 college baseball season will look like, but it is clear that the COVID-19 pandemic has changed our sport in so many ways.
My name is Larry Horn. I have been a writer for Overtime Heroics for almost a year. I have a love for all sports. I meanly do football articles but I noticed there isn't much written about college baseball so that's where I want to see fans coming to read. For more sports news especially baseball come see @larryhorn120174 and others at overtimeheroics.com.
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