Recruitment under COVID-19


Prospective football recruits face challenges due to COVID-19 pandemic.

Henry Boehm, Sports Editor

On March 10, just six days before President Trump issued guidelines urging people to avoid social gatherings of more than ten people, the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC), spearheaded by Middlebury and Amherst, became the first collegiate conference to cancel their spring seasons. The Ivy League followed days later, and by April 1, the NCAA had extended a down period of limited recruiting to May 31. 

As COVID-19 runs its course and the nation recognizes the seniors of high schools and colleges that have lost their last semester or last season, the class of 2021 is left with great uncertainty about their own recruiting fate. 

With this being their most important year for recruiting, all uncommitted 2021 athletes were counting on this spring to get in touch with coaches, attend camps and clinics, and improve their skills so that they could take their game to the next level.

“I was supposed to go to two schools during spring break, but unfortunately that didn’t happen. I was also supposed to attend some college camps during this time, but those have also been canceled/postponed. One of the biggest disadvantages is not being able to play with my team this year. It’s really important for learning new skills, practicing basic fundamentals, maintaining field sense, and simply growing as a player,” said junior lacrosse midfielder Evelina Swigart.

“This spring is really important for me to get recruited especially because I haven’t played much. I got invited to a few camps that were going to be really big for me. I also went through tryouts for 7v7 and made it on the top team which meant I was gonna be traveling to a lot of colleges to play tournaments. Pretty much the same with summer, a lot of my stuff is cancelled and it’s really really bad for me,” said junior quarterback Chris Joe.

“My recruitment is being negatively affected because I can’t visit schools who have invited me. Coaches who would’ve been coming to school aren’t,” said junior wide receiver Brandon Potts.

Recently, the NCAA approved an extra year of eligibility for all spring sport athletes, allowing hundreds of athletes to come back, but in return, further limiting spots for potential recruits. 

Given the NCAA’s legislation in 2018 that restricted athletes from making official visits and increased a quiet period between coaches and players until September 1 of the athlete’s junior year, the class of 2021 has yet another obstacle in their path to collegiate athletics.

“I will say one thing that really affected the 2021 class, lacrosse especially, was the Division 1 recruiting rule that passed. This especially affected 2021s for many reasons. Mainly because girls were starting to commit to programs in eighth grade, so my teammates and I all started doing camps from as young as sixth grade because of commitment possibilities in eighth grade. Once that rule passed, athletes and parents in the 2021 class ended up wasting their time. We ended up having to wait two to three more years for an offer,” said junior Abby Gravel who recently committed to Franklin and Marshall for lacrosse.

Despite the cloud that menacingly looms over the hopes of 2021 athletes, their passion for their sport drives them to find new ways to stay in shape, become more skilled, and outwork the competition.

“I workout between 1.5-3 hours a day which might be lifting with the few weights I have at home or running sprints. On top of that I also throw for about 1-2 hours a day to stay sharp,” continued Chris.

“Everyday I go outside for a little bit, either in my driveway or at the soccer field, and have basically gone back to the fundamentals to perfect my form and work on having quick feet so that when the fall season comes around, I’m better than before,” said junior center-midfielder Avery Richardson.

“It’s definitely been harder to keep up my own fitness because I don’t have the built-in two-hours a day practice that we all had during actual school. For the most part, I’ve been going on runs, bike rides, and doing some circuits with my little brother. I try to get out and play lacrosse as often as I can to work on stick skills, shooting, or anything else I decide to do,” said Evelina Swigart.

“I workout everyday except Saturdays and Sundays but I do an intense routine stretch on the weekends. I do sprints on my sidewalk since all parks are closed,” said Brandon.

Despite the grit with which our student athletes are attacking their daunting task, it is clear that they will have to work harder than ever with their limited resources to achieve their same goal. 

 “The main problem with the virus is cancelling the games and playing as a team. You can practice all you want in your yard but it’s nowhere near the same as improving by making split second decisions on the field and going against very physical players who will repeatedly shove you to the ground but you get better by continuing to get back up and try it again,” said Avery.