COVID’s effect on college sport recruiting

PHOTO: Juniors Ben Hanson and Dylan Rockwell practice with the varsity team as they begin their college recruiting process.

By Saul Israel, Editor–

The sports recruiting process is already a complicated four-year-long process, but with COVID-19 canceling seasons, students in all years of high school have been affected. 

The recruiting process should start in an athlete’s freshman year in which they should begin to set a solid foundation for their high school sports career. During this time, athletes should try and achieve the best grades they can while playing on competitive teams. Athletes should also use this time to research schools that they have both an interest in studying and playing at. 

As they move into their sophomore year, athletes should begin collecting footage and potentially start reaching out to coaches through email or current coach in order to get on their radar. Carter Stolz, a Davis High sophomore, is currently beginning the baseball recruiting process.

“Currently I am just trying to collect as much video of myself which I will eventually send out to coaches. […] I’m hopeful for our season, but right now it’s all video from practices,” Stolz said.

A recruiting video is an essential part of many athletes’ portfolios, and its importance is stressed by Ethan Guevin, the Davis High varsity baseball coach. Guevin, now in his second season of coaching, is also the founder and executive director of Keep Playing Baseball, an organization which works to educate and assist potential college athletes during recruitment.

“Even before COVID-19 having a social media presence which shows your skills is very important. A professional Instagram or Twitter account where coaches can see your recruiting video and gameplay plays a large role in catching coaches’ attention,” Guevin said. 

Going into their junior year, an athlete should try to play at the most competitive level while still doing well in the classroom and score well on the SAT or ACT. For many, this is a stressful time in which you must begin reaching out to coaches and distributing a recruiting video. That’s not exactly how it worked out for junior and Auburn University commit Tate Cutler. 

“On June 15, the first day coaches could contact me, 60 different swim coaches reached out to me asking to commit to their schools so I wasn’t really affected by COVID. I was unable to go on an official visit and meet the coach in person or tour the training facility, but I visited it and toured the campus on my own,” Cutler said. 

For seniors who are actively trying to commit, COVID-19 has had a substantial effect. The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has placed restrictions on what level of recruiting is currently allowed. Division 1 colleges have been put in a period where no in person recruiting is allowed. This means students are not able to visit with the coaches on campus, or visit the campus to practice with the team. 

COVID-19 has thrown a wrench into an already complicated and stressful time of many teenagers’ lives, and it will continue for several more years. 

“Because the NCAA has increased students’ years of eligibility, there will be an extra class of athletes on college campuses each year. This pandemic is going to have an effect on athletes trying to play in college for the next few years,” Guevin said .

The new challenges created by COVID-19 are just another reason why starting this process early, having a laid out plan and having a mentor who can help you along the process can help reduce stress and keep you on track. 

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