How athletic recruitment has changed during the pandemic

By Jenna Daunoras 

Elm Staff Writer

Due to the pandemic, most fall sports have been cancelled for all levels of playing. Not only is this an issue for the college athletes that are missing their season, but also for the high school students looking toward their future in athletics.  

Losing this season for many high school athletes means a full athletic year without recruitment videos of games and practices to be observed by recruiters. This creates an obstacle for both recruiters and players.

Coaches and recruiters will have to rely on older footage and communication between themselves to solve this problem. 

But, with the cancellation of fall sports, many collegiate athletes will most likely receive a “red-shirt.” This means that athletes that have this will have an extra year of eligibility for playing their sport even if they graduate from the college. 

Another problem stems from the fact that coaches do not know what their roster will look like as they may have returning players that already graduated and incoming players that are not fully recruited.

Much like everything else, recruitment has gone virtual. Coach and athlete meetings have become scheduled Zoom meetings, campus tours can be found online, and interested players may no longer spend “overnights,” where players being recruited would spend a night at the college and meet the team in their own environment.

Current athletes at WC have been more involved with the recruitment process to help as well. Players are in communication with recruits to give them more information about WC and their team dynamic. 

“From a college standpoint, we will be counting on recruits to send us a lot of games or practice film so we can evaluate the players and see if they will be a good fit,” said Head Coach Jamie Leventry of the volleyball team at WC. “The recruiting process will still work, but it will be vastly different for the next 18-24 months.” 

Although the pandemic has affected many of the sports, some can still work around COVID-19 to have a successful recruitment year. 

“The pandemic hasn’t impacted baseball recruiting much at all,” said Head Coach of the WC baseball team, Cory Beddick. “Baseball is considered a medium risk sport per the NCAA, and many states in our region have allowed for baseball recruiting events all summer. We are on pace to fill our recruiting class on the same timeline as every other year.”

Even with the abnormality, college recruiters are working with younger, interested players to try to make this process as smooth as possible in order to get them into the right school. Their hard work will continue until it is safer to meet in person.

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