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Coronavirus Sports: COVID-19 Impacts and Solutions for College Recruiting

The impact of coronavirus on college athletic recruiting

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The entire sports community has been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, leaving student-athletes and coaches wondering exactly what these changes mean for the future of college athletic recruiting.

NCSA is tracking these changes closely in the sections below and breaking things down for recruits to help them make informed decisions during this challenging time. It’s important for student-athletes to maximize their online presence and be proactive in starting recruiting conversations with coaches. Keep reading to find out the latest information, as well as the steps you can take right now to keep your recruiting journey on track.

If you have any questions about your path to college recruiting, please email updates@ncsasports.org.

NCSA and online recruiting during the coronavirus pandemic

It has been a confusing and challenging time to be a student-athlete, especially for those with dreams of competing at the college level. After a long list of cancellations and postponements of official recruiting visits, tournaments and college camps, recruits found themselves in uncharted territory.

The good news is, much of the college recruiting process happens digitally.

At NCSA, we’re committed to helping student-athletes leverage their online presence to connect with college coaches and find their best college match with our digital recruiting tools.

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How college coaches are recruiting during COVID-19 

College Coach Insights

In late July 2020, NCSA asked 380+ college coaches across various sports at the D1, D2, D3, NAIA and junior college levels for insight into the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on college recruiting. Coaches weighed in on topics such as program funding, recruiting timelines, eligibility and more.

Our team also compared coach activity on NCSA between March 2020 and July 2020 to the same timeframe in 2019 and found that coaches have been more active recruiting online during the pandemic. View the complete college coach COVID-19 survey results and coach activity report more details.

Learn more about what college coaches are doing right now.

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NCAA D1 returned to normal recruiting on June 1

In Person Recruiting

As of June 1, all sports returned to their normal recruiting calendars. D1 coaches are able to meet face-to-face with recruits off campus and do in-person scouting. In-person recruiting restrictions have already officially been lifted for all other levels, including NCAA D2 and D3, NAIA and NJCAA programs – meaning all forms of contact are allowed as long as they follow NCAA recruiting rules

As always, it’s important to build a competitive profile and continue to manage your recruiting process. If you are in contact with coaches at any programs, we recommend checking directly with them to ensure you know the latest updates about their recruiting plans.     

View all updates and FAQs regarding the recent NCAA suspensions

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What to do if your high school sports season was canceled

College Coach Communication

For student-athletes looking to get recruited, missing out on a sports season can feel worrisome. But, while high school sports play an important role in the college recruiting process, there are ways student-athletes can keep the momentum going and continue building coach relationships even without their high school season. Remember, coaches are now paying attention to how student-athletes are adapting to and overcoming COVID-19 obstacles, too, as they evaluate recruits. 

Here are six ways to keep your recruiting process on track:

Manage your online presence: Looking at coach activity on NCSA between March and July 2020, we’ve seen a 20% increase in college coach logins and a 17% increase in recruiting profiles that appear in college coaches’ searches, compared to the same timeframe in 2019. Create a free recruiting profile.

Create a skills video: Coaches are now open to receiving skills video that can easily be shot in an athlete’s backyard. View our skills video tips.

Manage college coach communication: It is important to keep an open line of communication with college coaches and continue sending videos, emails and updates.

Stay on top of recruiting education: NCSA offers free online recruiting classes covering a wide variety of recruiting topics, including NCAA recruiting updates, sport-specific recruiting advice, Q&A sessions and more. To attend an online recruiting class, check out our upcoming schedule.

Explore your options: College coaches recently shared in a survey that recruits should take this time to do more research on school programs and the coaching staff. Recruits should ask themselves if they would still want to go to a school even if the school no longer offered their sports program.

Other coaches mentioned considering the Junior College path. Because many recruits have lost opportunities to be seen by college coaches, JUCO programs would allow recruits to play at the next level with the possibility of transferring after 1-2 years.

Talk to a recruiting expert: Our team of recruiting experts is constantly tracking the latest coronavirus recruiting news and updates, so that we can help student-athletes and their families make informed decisions. To talk to a recruiting expert, reach out to us at recruiting@ncsasports.org or 866-495-5172.

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How and why athletes created a skills video during COVID-19

Highlight Videos

A professionally edited video is a great way to show coaches what you can do. If your sports season was postponed or canceled, one of the best ways to get new footage on a coach’s radar and showcase your athleticism is with a skills video.

Both skills and highlight videos are designed to help coaches see your athleticism and technical ability. However, unlike a highlight video, which incorporates game and competition footage, skills videos can be shot relatively easily on your own, and they don’t require specific locations (like a baseball field or basketball court) or expensive equipment.

While a skills video alone may not get you recruited, it will show college coaches that your work ethic, character and athleticism can overcome adversity and handle any challenge that comes your way.

Check out tips from NCSA recruiting experts and learn more about the important role of highlight and skills videos in recruiting.

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The impact of coronavirus on NCAA eligibility requirements

For student-athletes, academics and athletics go hand-in-hand. Unfortunately, coronavirus has directly impacted both of these—canceling athletic seasons and rescheduling standardized test dates. Despite these changes, student-athletes must still meet specific eligibility requirements, per the NCAA eligibility center, to get recruited.

NCAA Eligibility Center changes due to COVID-19

If you want to compete in college at the Division 1 or Division 2 level, you’ll need to do more than just graduate high school. The NCAA Eligibility Center is responsible for determining that you have completed the necessary requirements. Due to COVID-19, many of these requirements have changed for the 2021–22 and 2022-23 academic years. For example, prospective student-athletes no longer need ACT or SAT scores to secure initial eligibility and can use pass/fail grades to meet core course requirements. For more information, keep up with ACT and SAT coronavirus updates.

Visit the NCAA Eligibility Center response to COVID-19 page to learn more.

NCAA eligibility extension

All NCAA division levels have extended eligibility relief to fall and winter sport athletes enrolled to compete during the 2020-21 season. Read how each division level is addressing eligibility relief and how this impacts the college recruiting process.

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State level coronavirus information and local rules

To prevent the spread of COVID-19 in communities, states are following Federal Guidance on social gatherings. State and local health organizations are also making frequent updates, in reaction to recent data on confirmed cases and deaths in their respective areas. Athletes and their families should also follow preventative measures to protect themselves and those around them.

To find the most up-to-date information in your state, view the full list of U.S. state and territorial health department websites.

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Official sources of coronavirus information

Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. The World Health Organization (WHO) declared it a pandemic on Wednesday March 11, 2020. In the US, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides guidance on changes to daily life that are necessary to slow the spread of coronavirus within communities.

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About NCSA

The impacts of COVID-19 are being felt throughout the sports community. At NCSA we are believers in the importance of sports first and recruiting experts second. We are making all of our research into the impacts of COVID-19 public to help in any way we can. We will continue to update these materials as updates are necessary. Please send any questions or requests to updates@ncsasports.org.

Disclaimer: 

In light of recent events surrounding the Coronavirus, NCSA has assembled this site as a resource for relevant news and information as it relates to its impact on youth, high school, club and college sports.

The news, material, resources, tools and information (“Content”) contained on this site is for general information purposes only, and should not be used as a basis for making any business, legal, medical or any other decision, or to self-diagnose, diagnose, self-treat, or treat any health-related, medical, mental health, or other condition.  Inclusion of any Content on this site does not imply (expressly or otherwise) NCSA’s support for or endorsement of any of the sources of such Content (or anything contained therein), nor has NCSA independently reviewed or verified any of the information contained herein and therein. 

NCSA makes no representations or warranties of any kind, expressed or implied, about the completeness, veracity, accuracy, reliability, suitability, timeliness or applicability of the site or the Content contained therein for any purpose whatsoever, and all users acknowledge and agree that any use of the site or Content is solely and exclusively at their own risk. 

The site and Content are not meant to represent, replace, or supplement the advice or guidance of trained medical, health or epidemiology professionals. In no event shall NCSA or its employees, directors, officers, agents, subcontractors, or affiliates have any liability, whatsoever, for any damages, costs, expenses, claims, judgments, risks, or otherwise arising out of, relating to, or associated with any users’ use of, interaction with, or reliance upon the site or Content.

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