MLR Draft - It Sucks, It Stinks, And It Sucks
The MLR draft is absolutely ridiculous. The idea that college players are being shipped around the country to whatever team picks them is absolutely ludicrous. This idea has been borrowed from mainstream American sports such as football, baseball, and basketball, however it will never work in rugby. The money in these mainstream American sports is good enough for a kid fresh out of college to be shipped off to a city they may have never been before, we are talking about millions of dollars being offered to these athletes, that would be enough to move me just about anywhere within the United States. When it comes to rugby, and specifically the MLR, the money is nowhere near good enough to ask a 22-year-old kid to pick up and move across the country. The contracts given to these young players are between 5-10 grand if they are on a Standard Player Contract and can even be as low as hourly minimum wage (which varies state to state) if the athlete is on an Associate Player Contract.
Most players in the MLR do not rely on their income from the league as their sole or even main source of income. In many cases players have full time jobs while also being a ‘professional’ athlete. Due to this reason, players should be able to come out of college and make a smart choice on where they would like to play based on whether they can get a job in that city, afford to live there, etc. Obviously, players are not choosing who they want to play for, the feeling has to be mutual with the team. The draft is putting players in a horrible spot, where they are forced to play in the city they were drafted to, or else face the consequence of not being allowed to play in the league for an entire year. It is only a matter of time until a team drafts a player who is not willing to move to their city, effectively wasting a draft pick, and ruining a player’s eligibility for a year. It is hard to imagine that players who go undrafted are actually in a better place as a free agent, as they have the ability to field multiple offers and eventually choose the place that fits them best, but this is the harsh reality collegiate players are currently facing.
Scrap the draft – let the system run its course – and give some freedom to the players, or the price will be paid down the line.