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COVID-19: What Does it Mean for Athletic Recruiting?

If you want to be recruited for college sports, maximizing your online presence and being proactive during the current pandemic is key. Learn more now!

The NCAA recently announced that in-person athletic recruiting will be suspended until May 31. This means coaches aren’t allowed to meet face-to-face with student-athlete recruits off campus or do any in-person scouting. The NCAA is also encouraging all colleges to stop both official and unofficial visits during this dead period. But recruiting will not stop completely; coaches and recruits can still communicate over email, phone, text, and social media.

The situation at hand has left the sports community questioning what the full impact of this decision will look like for current and prospective student-athletes looking to be recruited to play for a college or university. These recent changes have made it evident that all recruits across every sport need to maximize their online presence and be proactive in starting recruiting conversations. Of course, the NCAA’s changes will impact some student-athletes more than others, so here’s an outline of how these changes will affect students in each of the next four graduation years.

High school Class of 2020

High school seniors will find few opportunities to make a Division I or II roster at this point in the recruiting process, as the recruiting landscape has been significantly impacted by the NCAA’s new eligibility relief plan: they have granted an extra year of recruiting eligibility to seniors in spring sports. As current college seniors decide whether to return for a fifth year, coaches will have to reassess roster availability. As a result, high school seniors still looking to get recruited will need to expand their search to include a wider range of schools and division levels. They should also begin reaching out to coaches online and by phone to discuss roster availability.

Recruits who’ve already committed to a program should regularly communicate with their coach and be direct with questions about what’s anticipated regarding eligibility relief impacting the student’s first season. Seniors should also be aware that the National Letter of Intent (NLI) has officially announced new Signing Periods for prospective athletes signing their NLIs during 2019–2020 and enrolling in the 2020–2021 academic year. You can learn more about Singing Period changes here.

Related: An Inside Look at College Athletic Recruitment

High school Class of 2021

It’s currently a critical point in the recruiting process for 2021 recruits. No longer able to schedule official and unofficial visits or attend recruiting tournaments and showcases due to postponements and cancelations, coaches are heavily relying on digital recruiting networks and methods to evaluate and connect with student-athletes. Recruits should build a strong digital presence and reach out to coaches via phone, email, text, and social media DMs.

High school juniors should also focus on academics despite school closures and standardized testing cancelations. Academics and athletics go hand-in-hand for student-athletes, as college coaches are just as interested in a potential recruit’s GPA and test scores as they are in their athletic skills—so staying on track academically is a must.

High school Classes of 2022 and 2023

Just because it’s early in the recruiting process for freshmen and sophomores doesn’t mean underclassmen aren’t being impacted by the NCAA’s changes. College coaches are no longer able to discover upcoming talent at tournaments, showcases, and sports camps with the recent postponements and cancelations. Since college coaches in most sports aren’t allowed to contact recruits until after June 15 of their sophomore year, underclassmen should continue to focus on creating a recruiting profile and highlight video, building a list of prospective schools, and sending introductory emails to college coaches.

Related: Ask the Experts: How Can I Get Colleges to Recruit Me for Sports?

Free online recruiting classes

To help student-athletes and their families navigate this confusing time, NCSA is offering free online recruiting classes to make it as easy as possible to keep your recruiting journey on track. NCSA’s upcoming online recruiting classes include topics such as how to set up an effective recruiting game plan, learning how to get on a coach’s radar, and effectively communicating with college programs to succeed in college recruiting. If playing your sport is a part of your college plans, staying informed and being proactive during this unprecedented situation will only benefit you in the future. 

Discover schools to add to your list with our College Search tool, and find more expert recruitment tips in our College Athletics section.

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athletic recruitment college athletics college sports NCAA recruitment student-athletes

About Next College Student Athlete (NCSA)

Next College Student Athlete (NCSA) is the world's largest and most successful collegiate athletic recruiting network because our focus has always been on finding the best college fit for our student-athletes. We believe the right athletic and academic fit can launch a lifetime of success.

Giving back has always been core to NCSA's mission. Our goal has always been to try and help every qualified athlete, regardless of their financial situation. Learn more at ncsasports.org

 

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