Blogs and Commentary

posted 07.09.2011 at 8.30 a.m. by Corey McLaughlin

MLL Rookie Draft to Remain in January

The Major League Lacrosse rookie draft will continue to be held in January, MLL commissioner David Gross confirmed Friday night. The league's Board of Directors voted on the matter at league meetings earlier Friday, held in advance of Saturday's all-star game in Boston.

This year was the first in MLL's history that the rookie draft was held prior the college and pro seasons. The draft generated otherwise unheard of buzz for the league during the late winter, and created more media exposure for MLL during the spring season, with mentions of draftees on college lacrosse television broadcasts and in print and online articles.

The move to a pre-college season draft created uncertainty on the part of MLL front office personnel and coaches, who needed to guess if their picks would remain healthy throughout the course of the season, bust or perhaps not even decide to play MLL.

Some teams were negatively affected by the earlier draft. The Denver Outlaws saw two picks, Princeton's Jack McBride and Hofstra's Steve Serling, sustain season-ending injuries. Boston and Long Island were others, when twin brothers Shamel and Rhamel Bratton decided to play on the LXM Tour after their senior season's ended.

But coaches and teams in general supported the idea of keeping the draft at the new time.

"We were the most hurt by having the draft before the season ... but I absolutely love the fact that we had it before the season," Denver coach Tom Slate said. "I'm in this to grow the sport, and to grow the MLL. To have Quint [Kessenich] and Joe Beninati mention the MLL during the ESPNU college games was awesome."

Gross on Wednesday endorsed the idea of keeping the draft in January. Previously it had been held after Memorial Day when the college season concludes. Draft picks then filtered into their MLL teams a few weeks into the season. Now, they are available whenever their college season ends, which for some this season was before Week 1 of the MLL schedule.

"My personal opinion is it was a home run for us holding the draft in January," Gross said. "It really made MLL part of the springtime conversation, which we haven't had in the past. Did it play out negatively for some teams? Absolutely. We knew it was going to happen. But from our end, from the league office standpoint, we think it would be a mistake to change what we're going right now."

No change was made Friday.