College recruitment during the pandemic

It comes as no surprise that along with many other things changing due to COVID-19, college recruiting for sports is different in many ways. Some colleges hold showcases for athletes, give tours to students who may commit at that school, or have scouts go to athletes’ games who they may want to come play for their college. But with a lack of games – and many colleges not giving tours – it has made it much harder for athletes and colleges alike to have the normal opportunities. 

We spoke to a few senior athletes here at Bothell about how the process for college sports has been difficult during the pandemic, and Hannah Cecil (‘21) said she “missed out on some exposure to college coaches due to not being able to go to camps and tournaments. There were some programs that were interested in me but couldn’t move forward with the recruiting process without seeing me play.” While the pandemic has narrowed down the options for some athletes like Cecil, for other athletes the pandemic has forced them to look into more schools. Miles Barrett (‘21) said that his plans for college have changed “drastically” and has “had to consider more schools as options because nothing is guaranteed anymore.” What both Cecil and Barret have in common is that the pandemic has been detrimental to their recruitment and has forced them to consider colleges that they may not have thought of before.

The pandemic has also increased the already-gigantic role communication has in recruiting. For the past 11 months, talking to coaches is just about all athletes could do. Normally, athletes are allowed to visit campuses and talk in person to coaches but due to COVID-19, communication has been restricted to emails, phone calls, and Zoom meetings. Barrett said during quarantine he has “been staying in touch with coaches 2-3 times a week whether it’s through a facetime call or emails.” 

Although the pandemic has deformed recruiting for high school athletes, it hasn’t come to a complete halt. Cecil is going to continue playing soccer and has recently committed to play for Pacific Lutheran University. Barrett is also looking to continue playing soccer in college. His plans have changed from playing for a university to playing for community college, but he remains optimistic and hopes to eventually move up to a bigger college.