With more and more recent developments surrounding the coronavirus pandemic and an uptick in positive cases making its way through the nation, the recruiting process is being impacted more and more for current high school athletes. As of last week, the National Collegiate Athletic Association have now suspended in-person recruiting activity, for all sports, including all face-to-face contacts on and off college campuses through Aug. 31. They have also recommended college coaches cancel any scheduled official and unofficial visits.
The NCAA Division 1 Council Coordination Committee will continue to review the recruiting dead periods on a regular basis. Since June 1, strength and conditioning coaches have been allowed to virtually observe workouts if specifically requested by the student-athlete. Phone calls and correspondence can continue to occur. The Division 2 Administrative Committee approved a quiet period from June 1-30, allowing in-person recruiting with prospective student-athletes on D2 college campuses. In-person, off-campus recruiting is still prohibited. The NCAA extended D1 and D2 Signing Periods for all sports through Aug. 1.
Additionally, the Men’s and Women’s Basketball Oversight Committees indicated they are not planning to recommend any changes to the summer access model that was adopted recently, which permits institutions to begin summer countable athletically related activities in basketball beginning July 20 and may include up to eight hours per week of weight training, conditioning and skill instruction, with not more than four hours of skill instruction.
Council members also granted a waiver to modifying the start date for preseason practice in sports other than football. Fall preseasons generally begin a specific number of days before the first scheduled regular season contest. The waiver allows teams to count back from the first day contests are allowed, instead of a team’s actual scheduled first contest.
The waiver allows some flexibility for additional acclimatization for fall sport student-athletes who missed out on spring participation opportunities and accounts for schedule changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Also, keep in mind that the NCAA Division 1 Council officially voted in March to grant spring sport athletes an additional year of eligibility. Some important things to note: The decision to offer an additional year of eligibility is at the discretion of individual schools; seniors who return will not count toward the team’s scholarship limit; roster limit is increased for baseball. It is the only spring sport with roster limits; winter sports will not receive eligibility relief.
Changes could most certainly affect unrecruited 2020 student-athletes still trying to earn a roster spot. While most Division 1 and Division 2 college coaches have finalized their roster for the 2020-2021 season, the NCAA’s eligibility relief plan may limit unsigned seniors recruiting opportunities if coaches decide to hold roster spots for current athletes who plan to return for a fifth year. To increase their opportunities, 2020 seniors should remain open-minded about different division levels and step up their recruiting efforts online.
For 2020 seniors already committed, eligibility relief may significantly impact their rookie year. Athletes committed to programs with several seniors could be facing a hugely different roster if their school decides to honor an extension of eligibility. Fortunately, the NCAA Division 1 Council announced that seniors who return will not count toward the team’s scholarship limit. A great resource for all student athletes planning on attending college should visit www.ncaa.org.
JP Raineri can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.