William Gruwell ’21
As COVID-19 continues to affect everyone’s life in a different way, those aspiring to be collegiate athletes are facing an unconventional complication.
COVID-19 has completely upended the NCAA’s recruitment process, halting many student athletes aspirations. Announced by the NCAA on Sept. 16, the “dead period” has now been pushed to the end of the calendar year.
The “dead period” precludes and holds off all in-person recruiting, which also tends to slow down the process of offering student athletes in general.
Coaches and recruiters may not keep in any contact with the athlete in-person, whether that be at school, practice or even at the park.
Xander Welty ’21, who is also a longtime staff member of The Roundup, has just recently been through the recruitment process himself before committing to the University of Richmond to play lacrosse.
“The dead period is really unfortunate for kids who have never seen colleges they are talking to or have never met coaches whom they are communicating with. On the contrary, coaches are struggling with understanding the type of athlete they are about to offer,” said Welty.
Brophy Senior swim captain and Princeton commit Finn Dowdall ’21 said something very similar when asked how the NCAA coaches were being affected during these changes. “Many of us missed out on this opportunity, and haven’t been able to post new times for college coaches to see since November or December.”
Clemson’s Division I football program has had ample success the past decade, mostly due to head coach Dabo Swinney and his recruiting abilities. When he heard of the recent news of the dead period extending to the end of the year, Swinney was not very ecstatic.
“I don’t see why we could not have official visits, where it’s a much more smaller control group of people,” Swinney said in a recent interview with Sports Illustrated. The Clemson head coach was clear in expressing his frustration.
Although NCAA is in the dead period, Division II and Division III schools have resumed normal recruiting for their athletes, which opens plenty of doors for student athletes.
To combat this issue with the challenges of not being able to recruit in person, Welty stated that “Richmond sent me tons of virtual walkthroughs of the facilities, the school, dorms and classrooms. They definitely helped and did the best they could to accommodate me and stay within the recruiting guidelines.”
The college football season is back in full swing, even allowing minimal amounts of fans to enter the game depending on where it is played, as certain states have different laws in regards to lockdown.
With that being said, many student athletes and college sports fans alike feel as though the concept of hosting fans at games but not allowing official visits is somewhat contradictory, as the chances of being exposed to COVID-19 is significantly higher with in-person spectator sports.