Quarantine measures pose trouble toward college athletics scouting

Years of competing in a sport would usually prove to be fruitful to student athletes in the form of an athletic scholarship in college. However, as COVID-19 has made it difficult for players to compete, college recruiting is more competitive than ever. Students that have already been in contact with college coaches have been able to solidify these offers but students who have yet to gain the attention of said coaches are in the most tough positions.

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) extended the dead period for recruiting from the already extended January 1 to April 15. The dead period prevents college coaches from meeting with high school athletes in person, but allows them to meet using virtual platforms. While calls and texts were already used by recruiting coaches, they have been more crucial than ever in increasing communication between student athletes and colleges.

The lack of in-person connection between prospective athletes and coaches plays a small role in the obstacles the upcoming graduating classes face. Students who were hoping to show their improvement as players and gain the attention of college coaches now don’t have the opportunity to do so. Athletes who play winter and spring sports have missed two seasons of high school sports and now rely on their freshman and sophomore year performances to show who they are as a player. For students who have improved significantly in these past two years, it is disheartening that they won’t be able to display their athletic maturity.

Students who play non-contact sports that don’t require as much interaction with other people, like golf, have an unfair advantage in the college recruiting process. Since golfers can continue to compete in tournaments and showcase their development, there are more opportunities for them to garner the attention of college coaches if they had not already done so.

Another tumultuous effect this pandmeic has had on college sports is the cutting of many sports programs. Stanford has cut 11 teams from their collections of varsity sports and the University of Minnesota has cut 4 teams from their program. The University of California, Riverside has taken measures a step further with the consideration of ending their athletics program all together. These Division 1 college athletics programs losing these terms means more prospective student athletes left without a destination. Although Stanford has offered to honor all athletic scholarships already offered, these students admitted there with the hope of continuing their athletic legacy. These schools, following the 2021-2022 school year will no longer offer athletic scholarships in the sports programs that have been cut, likely affecting the overall attraction of the university to not only athletes, but other prospective students.

Student athletes’ futures are more uncertain than even after the events of this past year. While the Class of 2021 was impacted the most, upcoming graduating classes will most likely feel the effects as well. The online approach to college recruiting proves more helpful to students who have already been in contact with college coaches while students who were still hoping to catch the attention of others. More of an effort is expected from students who hope to be recruited but coaches seem to employ the same amount of effort. A more concise consensus with clearer outlines for this process should have been implemented by the NCAA to ease the process along.

By Bhalpriya Sandhu, Online-editor-in-chief