Last week, we discussed how hard Tulane and North Carolina were hit by the Aug. 15 signing deadline. Green Wave coach Rick Jones advocated for an earlier signing deadline, which would at least give teams a month to look for substitute players in the post-transfer era.
Oral Roberts coach Rob Walton feels similarly. The Golden Eagles were utterly ravaged by the deadline, losing nine of the 11 drafted players they expected to show up on campus, either as returning players or recruits. Five of the players signed just before the deadline, and none signed for more than $50,000.
"I feel like I’ve been robbed," Walton said. "You work seven months recruiting, and it’s completely washed away in an hour. It’s brutal.
"You completely outwork everybody and get your club–I had to beat people on guys. I spent 12 straight days in California myself, 12 straight days in Arizona myself, I’m away from my family, I beat everybody on these guys, and the next thing you know, they’re gone."
Worst of all was the loss of star catcher Ben Petralli, who actually arrived on campus and attended class for two days before signing at the deadline as a 33rd-round pick. Not long ago, Oral Roberts would have been safe as soon as Petralli showed up in class (South Carolina coach Ray Tanner likes to tell a story of his days at North Carolina State, when he walked Trot Nixon to his first class, only to have a representative of the Red Sox cut Nixon off at the door with a contract in hand). Now, going to class makes no difference.
"He was plucked out of school," Walton said. "There’s no transfer rule or anything, so you’ve got no chance to recover. So for a mid-major like me that’s playing on a national level and has a chance to go to the World Series, it’s devastating."
Petralli was on a big scholarship, and now there is no time to reallocate that money to recruit another impact player. Instead, Petralli’s scholarship money becomes essentially unusable. For ORU, which only has 18 players on scholarship to begin with, that number now drops to 17.
Petralli’s replacement is another problem.
"We’ve got a catcher we think has a chance to be good, but he’s never caught," Walton said. "He’s an outfielder that we’re converting. Now he’s our No. 1."
This will be a major test for Walton and his staff–he even said the Golden Eagles will have to use a pitcher who hasn’t swung the bat since high school as a hitter. There’s little he can do but coach his players up the best he can, but the product won’t always be pretty.
A July 15 signing deadline would make last-minute losses much more manageable.
"I think there has to be something that changes," Walton said. "It’s not benefiting the student athletes’ welfare, and it’s creating as much problems as you could possibly create for a coach."
Comments will be monitored prior to being added to the site. Comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be rejected. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed.
We have chosen to open up commenting to everyone, so comment away! We want to hear from each and every one of you! Leave a comment.
About This Blog
Syndicate This Blog
Search This Blog