By Summer Ward
February 26, 2021
“The National College Athletic Association is a highly respected organization that is dedicated to the well-being and life-long success of college athletes.” That quote is what comes up when you Google the NCAA. Athletes find comfort in believing this is their true intention but recent events have left many athletes questioning the organization as whole.
Covid has changed the recruitment process for high school athletes in many ways. The NCAA has held a “dead period” with many rules limiting in-person recruitment. Some of the rules state that prospects are not allowed to make unofficial or official visits to campus. College coaches can not even go and watch recruits games. There are also no college ID camps, which were great ways for recruits to stand out. All in person contact has been banned.
This has challenged many coaches to change their traditional ways of recruiting. Coaches have spent many hours analyzing film and trying to see as much as possible from a screen. They have also contacted recruits through texts, emails, Zoom and Facetime. These are all great alternatives and coaches are doing the best they can, but traditional recruiting is a lot faster and easier to process.
This dead period has left many athletes distressed and almost losing hope in playing college sports. Spring sport athletes missed their last season and now cannot even have coaches watch this one. Recruitment from the athlete’s point of view is already beyond overwhelming, and this is just adding more stress.
Now, I understand the NCAA is also looking out for our safety and there is a pandemic going on, but completely banning all in person contact was a very drastic decision, and now they have not only extended it once, but twice. This has left many athletes with no contact to any coaches, since they are not supposed to talk to you until your junior year.
As an athlete, we are always told to just worry about ourselves and our level of play, and the college stuff will fall into place. It is getting very challenging for myself and many others to listen to that at this point. There is no “just playing your heart out,” or “coaches will show up” because those coaches showing up is illegal.
This is a beyond messy situation, and I understand COVID precautions need to be taken, but I do not believe this dead period extension is the way. Athletes need to be able to know and trust the NCAA has their best interest and wants them to have lifelong success, and right now none of us are buying it.