College baseball coaches face uncertain times with July draft

UCLA baseball coach John Savage is like many college baseball coaches these days trying to figure out a roster for next season while having to wait until mid-July just to see who could leave because the entry draft doesn’t take place until July. 17-19.

“The timing is terrible,” Savage said.

Adding to the uncertainty, there is a Thursday deadline where coaches must notify returning players if scholarships will be renewed. Savage has 11.7 scholarships to hand out, including for incoming freshmen. It’s a yearly balancing act, and this year is even more uncertain as there are far more draft-eligible players due to the COVID-19 redshirt seasons. How many will choose to leave? How many will be taken in a 23-round amateur draft?

Of course, the increasing number of players in the transfer portal provides additional options for managers should players suddenly decide to leave.

But coaches will certainly earn their salaries trying to piece together the puzzle of their rosters and the amount of scholarships available.

“You guessed it,” Savage said. “Everything is untimely.”

The draft was previously held in June, giving coaches more time to make scholarship decisions before the NCAA’s July 1 deadline that allows returning players to find out their status.

Savage said he expects many players to enter the transfer portal by Thursday to increase their options during what could be a wild July seeing who comes back and who leaves after the draft.

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