Since the beginning of social distancing due to concerns with the outbreak of the COVID-19, all spring sports at all levels have been canceled for the 2020 season. However, for high school baseball, this stoppage may trickle down to issues in the continuing seasons afterward.
Dawson County Tigers Baseball Coach Dwayne Sapp said that he disagreed with the way the National Collegiate Athlete Association (NCAA) handled the cancellation, giving every player for spring sports another year of eligibility after missing playing this year.
“High school kids aren’t getting a do-over,” Sapp said. “They’re not staying any longer. It’s time to move on. It created so many scenarios.”
The NCAA did grant everybody another year of eligibility, but that does not end the changes of what will come from the professional side of baseball. Major League Baseball (MLB), which usually drafts high school and collegiate players every June, has contemplated multiple ideas on how to adapt and what the future will look like.
The draft, which usually lasts around 40 rounds, will only be five rounds this year, meaning that around 1,000 athletes won’t get a chance to play professional baseball as they had planned.
With those players not having a professional team to go to, that clogs college scholarships available for high school baseball players getting ready to graduate.
Sapp said that players like Dawson County senior Bo Lewis, who had colleges looking at him before the season ended, may now have trouble finding a place if schools aren’t looking to replace players with new recruits.
“There’s lot of moving parts and pieces that college coaches are having to deal with,” Sapp said. “They backlog the coaches and handcuffed them.”
Life will continue once this period of social distancing is over, but Lewis is an example of many high school athletes who are likely unsure now where their next step may be.
“It’s unfortunate,” Sapp said. “Nobody saw this coming and it’s a lose-lose situation of what a decision would have been to do about this.”