Over the past year, the coronavirus pandemic has created a lot of uncertainty for prospective student-athletes and college recruiting. It has impacted everything from college program budget to recruiting timelines. Because of this impact, potential recruits and college coaches have had to adjust to the recruiting process. Here are a few things to consider if you want to stand out as a recruit.
Athletic budgets may have been impacted. Some programs have shut down due to the pandemic. While a majority are still operating, many have already felt the impact on their budget. Programs have to do more with less. With travel and recruiting funds cut, college coaches are traveling less and turning to recruiting digitally.
Delays in the 2021 and 2022 recruiting timeline. Since March 2020, the NCAA has placed Division 1 sports under the "dead period" where programs have not been able to recruit in-person, off-or-on campus. While other Divisions (2 or 3, NAIA, JUCO) have been allowed to recruit 'normally' the delay at the top has stalled many decisions for both recruits and colleges. Depending on the level, coaches who used to make offers mid-junior year, may now wait until the summer after or even early senior year.
Roster Flexibility/Volatility. The pandemic has affected the rosters of many programs, which may limit spots available. The NCAA has allowed players to recoup the 2020-2021 season of eligibility. That means there may be seniors who return to play an extra year or underclassman who decide to stay and play a fifth year. Some schools have seen their student-athletes transfer freely to other programs and taking roster spots. This means less recruits will be needed in the near future with less roster spots open.
If you fail to prepare, then be prepared to fail. During this unprecedented time of uncertainty, if you want to make yourself STAND OUT in the recruiting process, you have to be prepared to adapt and do things differently. Right now, college coaches are available for those who make an effort to reach out.
· Build a list of schools to target and connect via email, text, phone, social media, video, etc.
· Put an increased focus on academics. College coaches want good students, but depending on the school and level, many can stack academic scholarships and need-based financial aid on top of the athletic scholarship.
· Be patient as offers from college coaches may be delayed. Potential recruits need to stay ready and be educated about every program they are in talks with.
· Stay patient about roster opportunities that present themselves and realize it may take a while to earn playing time. Be flexible about where you are looking and stay ready to take an opportunity at a different division level.
· Don’t overlook your highlight video. Since many coaches are recruiting digitally, your recruiting video will be one of the main things they look at to determine if they want to recruit you.