MLR Announces First Ever Collegiate Draft

Source: Karen Drinkwater via @D1ARugby

On Wednesday night, Major League Rugby announced that on June 13th and 14th, 2020 the league will hold their first ever Collegiate Draft. With the announcement the league released some, but not all, the details of how the draft would take place.

The order of the draft will follow the conventional wisdom established by the other major leagues across North America and use the inverse standings. The standings will be from the cancelled 2020 season. Additionally, the two expansion clubs, Dallas and Los Angeles, will be given the first two picks. However, the league did not clarify how they were going to decide who gets the first overall pick between them. Regardless, as of right now the draft order is as follows:

As for the length of the draft, that is a little unclear. The MLR press release states that “The Draft will consist of at least four rounds and more if deemed necessary”. Obviously, that is intriguing wording. There is a guarantee of four rounds, yet none of the conditions that would allow it to go beyond four rounds are identified.

Criteria for what will make a player eligible for the draft were outlined. To be draft eligible there are two conditions that must be met:

  • Must have played US collegiate rugby in the one year preceding the draft (between June 13, 2019 to June 12, 2020); AND

  • Must have completed three years of college OR be at least 21 years of age.These criteria allow for athletes who have completed their Junior year to declare for the Draft while continuing to play in Collegiate competition as long as they remain eligible.”

Unfortunately, this means that Canadian USports or college athletes will not be eligible for the draft. This is due to concerns that Canadian university or college athletes would not be able to acquire a work visa in order to play for the American teams.

Of course, the opposite is true as well. The Toronto Arrows would need to acquire a work visa for any American players that they would draft. Therefore, the Arrows participation in the draft seems to be up in the air. The league did state that Canadian players can still fill out a form to signify that they are interested in joining the league despite not being eligible.

The Collegiate Draft will be the first major offseason event for MLR. Hopefully, it is a sign of things to come and the MLR’s offseason calendar can be filled with significant dates similar to other professional leagues. Although not all the details of the draft are clear, the MLR did end their press release with the promise of releasing more information in the weeks to come.

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