Summer league delays and cancelations aren’t the only things impacting college baseball players’ summers. From recruiting to working out, the college baseball system is changing rapidly. Some players are still unsure if they will be able to go back to campus in the fall, and what baseball may look like if they do.
While hardly anything can be taken for certain, there have been some recent announcements that give some shape to college baseball for this summer, and beyond.
The full impact of the shortened MLB draft and the resulting potential for more players to return to college if they aren’t drafted, combined with the one year of extended eligibility for the class of 2020 is hard to judge now, but will likely play a role as decisions are made ahead of the spring 2021 season.
The NCAA Division I Council Coordination Committee announced on May 27 that the recruiting dead period would be extended until July 31. They had previously extended the dead period from the original end date of April 15 until June 30. The dead period began on March 13.
Wednesday’s decision applies to all Division I sports and will be regularly re-evaluated in consultation with medical experts.
Baseball America breaks down the impacts in-depth, but this essentially impacts players who are set to graduate high school in the spring of 2021 (current juniors) because they lost their junior season and could have a hard time getting recruited if they were not already committed or in contact with coaches. Impending roster crunches from players who have opted to use their extended eligibility could also make it harder for high school players to find their way onto a college team.
Once the dead period ends, recruiting likely won’t immediately return to normal. Coaches wishing to travel may still be limited by local regulations or policies put out by their athletic department, and they still may not be able to invite prospective players to campus.
Starting on June 1, all Division I athletes will be allowed to begin voluntary athletics activities. Voluntary activities are those that are not required by or reported to the coaching staff, and will not result in punishment if a player does not complete them. There is no “safety exception” for baseball.
Additionally, the waiver which allowed for up to eight hours of required virtual nonphysical activities has been extended. Along with the recruiting regulations, policies for voluntary activities will be re-evaluated throughout the summer.
For up to date information on collegiate summer league statuses, check out our league status guide.