The world we once knew was gone in a flash due to the hardships and struggles of the COVID-19 pandemic. While some got hit harder than others, one group of people particularly impacted were athletes and coaches. The global pandemic not only sent most of the world into quarantine, it also resulted in the shutdown of sports of all levels.
Once sports started back up for high school athletes, the new challenge was college recruiting during the pandemic; this has proven challenging for both players and coaches.
When high school sports came back, athletes and college coaches had to deal with the new National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) COVID-19 recruiting regulations. Some of the new NCAA recruiting rules are extended dead periods, zero visits both in home and on campus, and coaches unable to attend live games to scout players. These were put in place by the NCAA in response to the COVID-19 outbreak to slow the spread and keep athletes and coaches safe.
However, these new rules would end up being costly as coaching staffs and recruiting coordinators had to come up with new ways to scout, meet and sign high school athletes. The struggles of recruiting during this historical era in our lives go both ways: while coaching staffs have to come up with different game plans to look for talent, the athletes themselves also have to find new ways to get seen by colleges.
“I had to pitch during a Zoom call so the coaches could see me throw since they were not able to see me throw in person,” said high school senior baseball player and Pepperdine University signee Bobby Christy, about his coronavirus recruiting experience.
This just goes to show the lengths that athletes went to during the pandemic to get recruited. The new class of college recruits are doing things differently than any other class in recent history. But for the coaching staffs it’s even more of a challenge, as there is a possibility they may have to recruit with these difficult circumstances for years to come.
These new obstacles are putting coaches in tough situations as they try to bring in the best possible players.
Greensboro College men’s soccer head coach Tony Falvino offered insight into the difficulties that coaches face during these unprecedented times: “Tape and video is good, but it’s hard to really judge a player without seeing him live because of the new rules.”
In the end its clear that even though the whole world is struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic, high school athletes and college coaches are also dealing with the struggles of the new NCAA regulations in the recruiting process. But as the rest of the globe perseveres through these dark times, so too will college coaches and the future athletes of college sports.
By Alex Trepper