Recruiting During a Pandemic
Updated: Oct 14, 2021
NORTHRIDGE, CA- When America decided to finally go on lockdown at the beginning of the pandemic, there was an array of emotions. Most people did not know or understand what was going on and how it could be contracted, due to the world never experiencing a virus of this magnitude. As a safety precaution, all sports, from professional to little league, was on hold along with everything else.
This was the first time sports fans have ever seen every sport across the world come to a standstill. With that, recruiting on every level did as well. Nobody knew how long the shutdown would be or how long the pandemic as a whole would last.
For high school athletes, this was a tough pill to swallow. Upperclassmen tend to be recruited in the Summer and Spring months the most; not to say that athletes cannot sign their letters of intent during the Fall and Winter, but that is typically when most collegiate teams are in season or preparing, so recruiting is mainly focused on the premier athletes who have stars next to their names on exclusive sights such as ESPN300 and 247Sports.
Some seniors were lucky enough to still sign their letters of intent and be enrolled in the upcoming fall. For the few that were considered bubble players, they were faced with difficult adult like decisions to make; stay in contact with the teams recruiting them in hopes that they can sign and join whenever it was allowed for them and others to do so, or go to a more guaranteed option, such as a lower tier school that will not give them the best opportunities to play at the next level beyond college or go to a local community college.
A big issue for most was the lack of film. Not having recent film and/or highlights to showcase their talent left them an empty-handed senior year. For Deonce Caldwell’s case, Georgetown, Columbia and Brown all decided to go with the safer options and recruit the athletes close to home or those who have already signed their letters of intent.
The unknown for any case makes anyone, including four-year institutions, try to make life for what they have as easiest as possible. Not to mention, students staying on campus were forced to move out abruptly and find a way back to their respective homes.
Video Credit: NCSA Next College Student Athlete
Video Credit: Malik Patterson
By: Malik Patterson
Contributions from: CNBC Sports, LRT-Sports, NBC Sports, NCSA Sports
Photo: hudl.com, Andy Holzman
Video: Malik Patterson, Danny Keoing
Audio: Deonce Caldwell