The coronavirus is shaping the landscape of our current world, impacting every aspect of our lives in one way or another. Athletic recruiting is no exception.
This global pandemic has halted or delayed every aspect of recruiting at such an important time in the process. The NCAA, at Division I and II levels, instituted a “dead period” across all sports and member schools until May 31st. During a dead period, there can be no in-person recruiting of any form, including camps, visits, contacts, and evaluations. This is a huge setback for athletes across all recruiting classes, especially those in the class of 2022 who are set to begin their official communications this coming fall.
This dead period is likely to be extended through at least the end of June, and with the nature of the pandemic changing every day, that date could be far later. Until this dead period is lifted, athletes have no opportunities to do the two most important steps in recruiting: getting evaluated and expressing interest to coaches. Rising seniors who are deliberating over multiple schools are also not being given a chance to make a truly informed decision without the value of an official visit.
But many members of the class of 2022 may not even be given the opportunity to make a decision, informed or not, because of the lack of exposure they will receive on the recruiting trail this summer. The summer before the fall of your junior year is the most crucial period of evaluation for athletes across many sports, as coaches are allowed to offer athletes come September 1st. But while in-person evaluations are out of the question, many athletes are using this time to enhance other recruiting material for coaches to evaluate, including highlight videos and resumes.
Rising senior athletes in “race sports” such as track and swimming also anxiously await this fall as their offers are expected to roll in. These sports traditionally recruit on a later timeline because of their objectivity. But one race sport, crew, has historically offered athletes officially during the fall of their senior year tried out a new recruiting timeline this year that sped up the process. Claire Cummings ’21, a prospective college rower, spoke to this new system saying: “This year was a sort of test for the new timeline, but with the interference of corona this already complicated year became even less uniform.”
This crisis is impacting all of us in different ways, but it is also making all of us stronger in different ways. Aspiring college athletes should not be deterred from pursuing their dreams and should instead heed this pandemic as a call to work harder and smarter to make their dream of taking their game to the next level a reality.