As we all know, COVID-19 has affected 2020 in many different ways. From shopping, school, work, and even sports, everyone has taken some sort of precaution to stop the spread of this virus. Masks are worn, distance is kept, and everything is sanitized. We are going to look at the ways that COVID has affected sports in the recruiting and signing process for high school student athletes.
COVID-19 has impacted the recruiting process. It has created what recruiters and players call the “dead period.” The dead period started in March when no schools were allowed to come to any sporting events to recruit athletes to their universities. Slowly, and I mean slowly, the dead period has been opening, letting Junior College, Division 2 and Division 3 recruit athletes.
Division 1 is still on the dead period, and looks to stay on the dead period until the 2021 season. Athletes of all sports are affected by it. All Division 1 sports gave all current students at the University an extra year of eligibility. This means that students who were supposed to graduate, are now coming back for their 5th year. All universities now are limited to the amount of scholarships they can give out. Athletes who haven’t decided where they want to go to school are now struck with this horrific scene where no schools have any money to give them. Tremendous athletes and great students are getting denied from schools they should be getting into. Even crazier, schools who told students that they have money for them, are now taking that money away from the kids, leaving them heartbroken.
COVID-19 has also impacted the signing process. Because of lack of physical interaction between students and coaches, it has been extremely difficult to finalize the recruiting process and sign the official documents considering that there is physical contact in that process. The signing process also usually involves a meeting of the student athlete, coach, friends and family, which is hard to do because of the restrictions put on gathering. Many athletes are waiting for the restrictions to be lifted so that they can have all of their supporters at their signing. Our own Peyton Frost, a Senior volleyball player, has experienced the effects of the signing process and COVID. She has been trying to sign since the beginning of summer, but because of COVID she is still waiting to finalize the process.
We hope to see the end of COVID-19 in the near future. Our athletes deserve the same chance that every other college athlete was given before them. We hope to see a wave of signings coming in the near future when all of these restrictions are lifted. Good luck to all athletes looking to play at the next level, and don’t be discouraged, this will all be over soon.