I re-tweeted this last night on Twitter, and talked about it some today. Kendall Rogers of Perfect Game had this to say about Pittsburgh Pirates 2nd round pick Josh Bell:
Was told by couple of #Texas folks that #Pirates 2nd-rounder Josh Bell is slated to begin summer school at #UT. Could bode well. #mlbdraft
There’s some debate over whether this would end Bell’s eligibility to sign with the Pirates. A quick look at the rules states that players are eligible to be drafted if they are:
- High school players, if they have graduated from high school and have not yet attended college or junior college;
- College players, from four-year colleges who have either completed their junior or senior years or are at least 21 years old; and
- Junior college players, regardless of how many years of school they have completed
Bell fits the first criteria for now. However, there’s some question as to whether attending summer classes is the same as attending for the Fall semester. A college class is a college class, but the question is whether eligibility ends with one class, or with full time status. If it’s one class, then Bell attending summer school would make him ineligible to sign with the Pirates. Thankfully, we have the clarification in the MLB rules for the draft:
A Club generally retains the rights to sign a selected player until 11:59 PM (EDT) August 15, or until the player enters, or returns to, a four-year college on a full-time basis.
Emphasis on the bold part above. “Full time” in college is generally 12 credit hours or more. Summer school isn’t considered full time, since it’s typically 1-2 classes a summer, with two separate periods. Therefore, it seems that Bell attending summer school wouldn’t remove his eligibility, as he wouldn’t be attending on a full time basis.
That makes sense, as college courses are offered at the high school level. If you take Advanced Placement courses in high school, you get college credit, and in some cases, you have to go through the process of enrolling in a local college for the course. That would remove a lot of eligibility, even though it’s a common educational path for high school students working on a college prep degree.
I’ve been skeptical about whether Bell is actually set on going to college. It seems like this is all a negotiating ploy, and this just seems like the next step. It’s hard to take him seriously when Scott Boras is his advisor, especially when the act of putting a player on college campus in a “will this remove his eligibility?” scenario is a page out of the Boras handbook. That doesn’t mean that Bell is going to sign. All we can take from this is that summer school doesn’t remove Bell’s eligibility.