The coronavirus pandemic is something that is far bigger than sports and we hope you and your family are healthy and safe. As the situation continues to evolve, we are already seeing how this is going to impact recruiting for the next several months.
Over the course of a few days, the NCAA made numerous announcements that impact current college athletes and recruits. These announcements have left us questioning how else the recruiting process will be affected.
- NCAA cancels all winter and spring sports
- NCAA bans in-person recruiting through April 15th
- NCAA grants extra year of eligibility to seniors in spring sports
- Will colleges host summer camps starting in May?
Fortunately, much of the recruiting process already takes place digitally. Across all grad years and sports, it’s more important than ever for student-athletes to maximize their online presence to be proactive in starting recruiting conversations. Of course, some recruits and sports will be more impacted than others, so we’ve broken things down below to explain how your recruiting journey may change based on recent NCAA announcements.
How will this impact athletic scholarships?
With many college seniors being granted an extra year of eligibility, one of the first questions is what happens to athletes who have already signed a scholarship? Coaches grant scholarships based on the expectation they lose their seniors. If seniors are coming back, will they be eligible for a scholarship? And what happens to the committed recruits who have already accepted a scholarship? All we know is that the NCAA is aware of this concern and will provide guidance in the future. Once there is news, you can expect to get updates here.
High school class of 2020
Many Division 1 and Division 2 programs were done or almost done recruiting for the class of 2020, but the NCAA’s eligibility relief plan is going to change the recruiting landscape moving forward. Coaches who were planning on losing their seniors, might have those seniors on the team next year. High school seniors still looking to get recruited may need to expand their search to include more schools and different division levels. Recruits should also step up their digital recruiting efforts by reaching out to coaches online and by phone to discuss roster availability.
2020 seniors who have already committed should make sure to communicate with the coach regularly and not be afraid to ask how the coach anticipates that eligibility relief will impact incoming recruits’ rookie year.
High school class of 2021
For the class of 2021, this is prime time for recruiting. With official and unofficial visits postponed and many recruiting tournaments/showcases postponed or canceled, coaches have moved online. College coaches may not be able to talk in-person, but they are available to take phone calls and answer emails, texts and DMs. Coaches are online searching recruiting networks to discover and evaluate recruits they are no longer able to watch compete in-person. Student-athletes can stay on top of their recruiting by keeping a strong digital presence and staying proactive.
High school class of 2022 & 2023
The biggest impact to these classes will be the postponement or cancelation of tournaments, showcases and camps. Remember, for most sports, college coaches aren’t able to contact recruits until after June 15 of their sophomore year, which means 2022 grads still have three months before coach contact official begins. For the time being, underclassman should continue to focus their efforts on creating a recruiting profile and highlight video, building a list of prospective schools and sending introductory emails to college coaches. Video is also going to play a critical role in the recruiting process for this recruiting season.
College spring sports
Baseball, softball, golf, lacrosse, rowing, tennis, outdoor track and field, men’s volleyball, women’s beach volleyball, women’s water polo
While it’s uncertain how many athletes will take advantage of the NCAA eligibility relief, it is safe to assume that coaches’ recruiting needs for the 2021 class will be changing. We’ll have a better understanding of the true impact eligibility relief will have on 2021 recruits once the NCAA addresses the topic of scholarship money, roster spots and other challenges teams will face with eligibility relief.
College fall sports
Cross country, field hockey, football, soccer, women’s volleyball, men’s water polo
For now, the recruiting process for student-athletes pursuing a roster spot on a fall sports team is only impacted by the NCAA’s new “dead period” that prohibits in-person recruiting through April 15. Recruits are still able to communicate with coaches via phone, email, text and social media. At this time, it’s too soon to say if the CDC’s current restrictions on large events will still be in place throughout the summer.
College winter sports
Basketball, bowling, fencing, gymnastics, ice hockey, mixed rifles, mixed skiing, swimming and diving, indoor track and field, wrestling
With the promise of eligibility relief for spring sports, questions are beginning to circulate around whether the NCAA will offer winter sports the same opportunity to compete for a fifth year. In addition to establishing the details of eligibility relief for spring sports, the NCAA Division I Council Committee Chair Dr. Grace Calhoun said the group will “also discuss issues related to seasons of competition for winter sport student-athletes who were unable to participate in conference and NCAA championships.”
If eligibility relief is not granted to winter sport athletes, recruits can expect the recruiting process to continue on as normal, just without the in-person contact through April 15. If winter sports are offered eligibility relief, college coaches may change their recruiting game plan and student-athletes will be vying for a spot on a very different roster than expected.