Dear Coach Bryant,
I read your previous post about the impact you think COVID-19 will have on college athletics. I have one child committed to play Division II golf next year, and another just starting the recruiting process. Is there anything we should be doing differently now that COVID-19 has “changed the game”?
Dear Desperate Dad,
While it definitely feels as though our lives have been put on hold, there are steps that both your children can take to ensure that the recruiting process will continue to run smoothly. To help with that process, I have outlined a game plan for each child below.
Game Plan for 2020 HS Graduate Committed Spring Sport Athletes (Incoming Freshmen)
1. Don’t panic!
- Division I & II Athletes: As long as you signed a National Letter of Intent (NLI), your scholarship is still intact. There is no need to worry about not having a spot or a scholarship in the fall! Keep in mind though, a spot does not guarantee playing time.
- Division III Athletes: There are no roster maximums, so your spot is still secured. However, you may be entering a larger team, so playing time could be in question.
2. Talk to your coach ASAP!
- Find out if current players are planning to take a 5th year. You may not have to worry about playing time if the eligibility extension isn’t being utilized by the players on your team!
- If the roster has changed, have an open discussion with your coach about where he or she sees you fitting in. It is important that your expectations are aligned from the beginning to ensure a healthy coach-player relationship.
- For Division I & II commits: redshirting your freshman year may be worth considering. Talk to your coach about whether or not that would be a sensible option.
3. Examine why you chose this program – are those reasons still intact?
- If so, great! You should approach the situation with an open mind. In fact, you’ll have a great opportunity to learn from more experienced players.
- If not, it might be worth exploring some other options. This is easier said than done, as we are fairly late in the game and I do not recommend withdrawing commitments. Talk to your coach about the best way to adapt to the current situation if your feelings about the program or your place within it have changed.
Game Plan for 2021, 2022, & 2023 Recruits
- All spring Official and Unofficial Visits have been cancelled.
- Off-campus/in-person recruiting has been halted across all divisions.
- ACT/SAT tests and prep courses have been postponed.
- There will likely be fewer opportunities for spots and playing time in spring sports over the next four years (as current spring sport athletes elect to take advantage of their restored eligibility)
What you can do NOW:
1. Follow your teams of interest on social media.
- Most teams today are on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and even TikTok. Since you can’t get to know them by visiting this spring, use social media to get an idea of who they are and what their team culture is all about.
2. Be responsible on your social media accounts.
- Coaches are on social media now more than ever. They are trying to get to know you virtually, just as you are trying to get to know their teams. Be mindful of what you post and make sure it is appropriate.
3. Watch virtual tours of your schools of interest.
- Check out the school websites and find the virtual tours. These can be a great introduction to the campus and facilities!
4. Email coaches and set up virtual calls with the coach and/or team.
- You can and should email coaches to express (or reiterate) interest in their programs. Coaches are waiting to hear from you as they are forced to be home and manage their programs from afar! Don’t be afraid to keep following up until you receive a response.
- Division III coaches can organize virtual calls for you to meet their players on videochat. While Division I & II coaches can’t be involved in scheduling these calls, you can reach out to their players and organize them yourself. This is a great way to show initiative and get to know your potential teammates.
5. Research team rosters and expand your list by at least FIVE schools (Spring Sports)
- If you play a spring sport, look at the team rosters for your schools of interest and take note of which players are getting the most playing time…and what year they are. This could impact their 5th year decisions, which would change the amount of playing time available for you.
- At this point, you need to expand your prospective list by at least 5 schools. A lot can change in the coming months, and it is important that you give yourself options in the event that your “perfect fit” isn’t so perfect after all.
6. Get ahead on your SAT/ACT studying and write that college admissions essay!
- Now that you are spending less time traveling to school, practice, and competitions, you have a great opportunity to get ahead on your studying and get a jumpstart on writing your essay. Use that time wisely!
This global pandemic has changed recruiting, but it has not stopped it. It is important that both coaches and players work together to adapt to this new situation and make the best of what we’ve got. Nothing about our world today feels “business as usual”, and recruiting is no exception.
In my next blog post, I will cover all of the things you need to know about being a virtual recruit, including meeting etiquette, email drafting, and more!
Need to know more about the steps your child should be taking NOW? Contact me.