Recruiting is important for teams to fill their roster and for schools to reach their enrollment goals. With the pandemic, recruiting a player is different and difficult in some ways. Some places are still hosting college visits in person while others are hosting potential students virtually. However, for those colleges that are hosting in-person visits, there are plenty of safety restrictions in place. These changes can cause problems for many coaches to fill their rosters and for many schools to reach their hopes for enrollment.
Campus visits are still happening around the country, but some colleges are doing them virtually. When visits are done virtually, it can be difficult for a coach to have a good conversation compared to when they are in person. When talking to Josh Flannery, Greenville’s offensive coordinator/assistant football coach, he explains that recruiting has been greatly impacted due to the pandemic. “Doing recruit visits virtually was not nearly as good as in person, but it was better than nothing,” he reflected.
It can be difficult for coaches to get to know players through virtual visits, but players may also have trouble feeling out the program. Recruits don’t get to see the campus or the coaches. Therefore, they won’t get the experience of observing the campus community, which means that they can not be sure if that’s the right choice for them.With the world in its current state, providing an authentic campus experience to recruits will continue to be difficult. Even the schools that are allowing campus visits are going to face various hurdles due to different precautions that have to be taken.
Coach Flannery explains how the pandemic is affecting coaches, including himself. “Normally, we are out visiting recruits at their high schools, going to their games, or doing home visits, but since the pandemic, we have not been able to do any of that.” Players depend on college coaches to visit their games. With college coaches unable to visit, players may not get to play farther than high school ball. The big events, like the showcases that take place, are big in recruiting. Events like these are where some of the most talented players come to display their talents to coaches from all over the country. With these events being canceled, it is impacting recruits that really need these showcases to boost their chances of playing at the collegiate level. These cancellations impact coaches as well by not being able to see players perform in person, and this is especially critical if the coaches are not completely sure if they want to offer a recruit a spot on their roster.
With the obstacles that schools are facing at the moment, recruiting is different for everyone all over the country. Recruiting during the pandemic could potentially affect coaches, players, and schools. If programs want to be success, they will need to change their usual processes in order to adapt to the new scenario. There are many obstacles to overcome, but the recruiting process has to adapt in order to ensure that college sports keep going.
Media by Jose Soutullo Fernandez.