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How Do D1A Coaches Feel About The MLR Draft?

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How Do D1A Coaches Feel About The MLR Draft?

We asked D1A coaches what they thought of the MLR Draft.

In an anonymous survey, Goff Rugby Report asked D1A Head Coaches what they thought of the inaugural Major League Rugby Draft, and it's safe to say that, according to the coaches, it needs some work.

Coaches generally liked the concept of the MLR Draft, with 58% saying they thought it was a good idea (see chart top left).

But those who didn't care for it had some thoughts:

"It’s too restrictive to players," said one coach. "They don’t get paid enough money to be locked into a move."

Another coach said the draft implies there's be a big payday for a professional rugby player, but that's not the case.

"I find it very unfair that a graduating senior can’t pick an MLR team to negotiate with on his own accord," added that same coach. "Especially if he has a career job opportunity in a city other than the city of the team that drafts him. Until there is adequate financial gain for college graduates, I see the MLR Draft as a marketing tool and nothing more."

Another coach also looked at the opportunity cost.

"I think following these first draft picks will be very interesting," he said. "See what the next 2-3 years bring for them. There's the 'I have a college degree and can go get a job starting at 40-50k' (our kids) vs 'I have a chance to test myself against the best.'"

How the draft was executed did not get as much support as the concept.

A strong plurality, 47%, said it wasn't executed to their liking (see second chart at left). 

"Too many unknowns," lamented one coach. "Juniors able to join draft but then return to college. Do they impact their eligibility? Players bargaining power removed from them. Not enough information provided to coaches prior to the draft."

"Very amateurish," added another coach. "In the weeks leading up there was great confusion on player eligibility for draft from people at the highest levels."

But perhaps the most common gripe was how foreign players were handled.

"Foreign players need to be eligible for the USA tag if they played college for 3+ years," said one coach. "The MLR and USAR should be working with international college students (travel and financial counseling) to get them USA eligible and then not have them count against foreigner count," added another. "It'll level the playing field, deepen the USA player pool, and create an actual vertical pathway between colleges, MLR, and the national team."

More coaches wanted clarity on the rules, and one noted that because Canadian college players weren't in the draft, Toronto seemed to have first-dibs on all Canadian players. 

Overall, the majority of coaches liked the idea, thought it was good PR for the game, and hoped some of the issues could be resolved soon. But those issues remain, and coaches do seem to be a little stressed when talking to their players about the process, the rules, and the payoffs.