How COVID has impacted the recruitment of student-athletes?

Since March 2020, when COVID-19 cases started to rise exponentially, the recruiting process for high school athletes has drastically changed. Scouts have been in an incessant state of uncertainty as the NCAA monitors the pandemic and constantly makes changes to the recruiting rules and calendar. As an unfortunate result of the unfavorable conditions imposed by the virus, the NCAA decided to completely change how recruiting was to take place during the pandemic era, suspending the familiar in-person recruitment process. This switch to digital recruitment was a complete game-changer for both coaches and recruits. Coaches now more than ever are relying unconditionally on online recruiting platforms such as NCSA to discover, interact with, carefully evaluate, and recruit outstanding talent. On the other hand, recruits have to amply demonstrate their remarkable talent through highlight tapes rather than via ID camps, tournaments, and other events where they would traditionally get noticed by college coaches.

Additionally, as a negative result of COVID-19, many high schools have delayed their athletic seasons’ starting date to have more time to evaluate if it’s indeed possible to have a successful season in the midst of an active contagious virus. The athletic director of Scheck Hillel Community School, Cindy Lyon, comments “Recruitment through our Hillel athletic program has been stalled due to the pandemic. We have not had organized sports games for this year, therefore no colleges have attended games. For those student-athletes who are passionate enough to play in club or travel teams, they are still being recruited through those outlets.” This demonstrates that despite the potential absence of school competitions, there are still different possibilities to get noticed, and subsequently recruited, by college coaches. 

For the class of 2021, the recruitment process is currently at a critical point. Current seniors are no longer able to schedule official or unofficial visits,  attend recruiting tournaments, or partake in showcases due to postponements and cancelations. Despite seeming more challenging than ever, recruitment is still possible. Recently, the recruitment process has properly concluded via commitment at Scheck Hillel Community School. Tatiana Wainer,  Class of 2021, committed,  as a volleyball player, to the division 3 college program of Brandeis University. Wainer comments, “I have been talking to the Brandeis volleyball coach since December of last year. However, since March, the recruitment process has been very challenging for many students. I couldn’t go visit campuses of schools that were interested and the whole process of recruitment got delayed. Many schools were pushing back deadlines because of COVID and many tournaments got canceled because of the virus. However, with my highlight videos and lots of direct communication with the Brandeis coach, I was finally able to achieve commitment and become a part of the volleyball program.” As evidenced by Tatiana Wainer’s commitment, though the pandemic is indeed a challenging phase for all high school students and college coaches, it is nevertheless possible to accomplish results in these challenging circumstances.

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