On April 1, 2020, the NCAA announced it will extend the current recruiting dead period through May 31, a move that was also taken in Division I. Institutional staff members are permitted to communicate with prospective student-athletes by phone or email during this time but cannot engage in in-person recruiting on or off campus. You can read the media release here.
This has significant implications for prospective student athletes still in high school during a time when spring athletic seasons would usually be in full swing, and colleges would be conducting in-person recruiting. It’s frustrating. It’s terribly disappointing, and it may leave prospective student athletes feeling helpless and pretty panicked right now. So what CAN you do? What actions CAN prospective student athletes take to move your college recruiting process forward while you’re standing still?
As high schools and colleges pursue online learning for the balance of this spring semester due to COVID-19, the recruiting landscape is also evolving. Remember, coaches who would usually be out on the road right now are also stuck in their offices or at home, which means they have more time to spend online. They won’t stop recruiting. They’ll just be doing it differently. Here’s how you can make progress in light of our current situation.
Prospective Student Athletes Can Take a Proactive versus Reactive Approach
There are many opportunities for current high-school prospective student athletes to be proactive. Cancelled tournaments, showcases and the dead period now extended through May 31 have changed the landscape of what the recruiting process looks like this spring.
College coaches usually use this time to travel to evaluate players at tournaments and showcases around the country and host student athletes and their families on their campuses. Athletes want to get noticed at these tournaments to set themselves up for the best recruiting opportunities. Students and their families also want to get out to college campuses to explore their options. The pandemic is making recruiting and coaching more challenging, but there are many opportunities for you as a student athlete.
Make These Actions Part of Your College Recruiting Game Plan
- Update all of the social media sites you are on. Since college coaches cannot see you in person, they will likely be spending more time online. Update all of the recruiting sites you are on and be sure they are complete.
- Update all of your video footage from past games and matches.
- Reach out to college coaches per NCAA, NAIA, and junior college rules. This could include emails and phone calls and add links to fresh game film and highlight videos.
- Target specific schools you are interested in and reach out. Think about what you want out of your college athletics experience both athletically and academically. What is a good fit for you? Do you want to start right away or are you ok being a reserve player for a few years? Does a smaller school appeal to you or a larger school. Get online and research colleges and universities and take a virtual tour. Most schools have enhanced their virtual tour and video capabilities in light of what’s happening right now.
- Look into the classes you should be taking the next several years in order to be eligible to compete in college athletics. If you are a sophomore or junior, think about studying and taking the ACT sooner rather than later and look into the requirements the NCAA has around high school grades and ACT scores. Begin to research academic scholarship opportunities at your target schools.
Email and Phone Outreach to College Coaches
Student athletes stuck at home can still reach out to college coaches using email or phone calls. Here are three great questions to ask college coaches when you call. Email Stephanie Barth for other suggestions on outreach to college coaches.
- What are you looking for in a player for my position?
- Can you describe your practice environment?
- How would you describe your team and school culture on and off the court/field etc.?
We are here at OnCampus College Planning to help you through this changing landscape.
Our College-Bound Confidence Community is an online monthly coaching group to help college-bound students and parents get to college with less stress, less mess and way more confidence. College-Bound Confidence includes training and tools specific to prospective student athletes.
We also offer a one-on-one coaching package for prospective student athletes. Email Stephanie Barth for more information or just to ask questions and get expert answers.
Email Stephanie for a free overview of how the college recruiting process works. We can help you come up with a comprehensive plan for recruiting, applications, and ACT testing to help you prepare for the college recruiting process.