The recruiting process has been really affected by the pandemic. The first thing that happened for girl’s lacrosse in particular, was that all college coaches agreed to abstain from attending any IWLCA tournaments. IWLCA tournaments are formal tournaments that college coaches usually attend, but since they are such large tournaments and host a very large number of teams, they currently pose a health risk and break social distancing rules. Thus, college coaches have agreed to not attend any IWLCA tournaments for this period of time and that extends to tournaments like the Presidents’ Cup, which is a major tournament in November. Essentially, even if those tournaments aren’t cancelled, college coaches will not be attending due to the safety risk.
In terms of recruiting periods there are time slots that are called “dead periods” and that’s when coaches usually don’t directly contact or communicate with athletes regarding recruitment, other than clinic or camp information. That dead period of recruiting had been extended to the 31st of July by the NCAA. Specifically, for rising juniors, direct contact can begin September 1st of their junior year. Those dead periods really start to become important after that date. Because of our loss of our sophomore year spring sports there is now talk that this date could be delayed for up to a year and that could really affect recruiting. People are looking a lot towards the rising seniors because they are on the forefront of the process but this is affecting rising juniors (the class of ‘22) a lot more than previously anticipated.
The rationale behind this delay is to give rising juniors a year to develop and to become the best athletes that they can be. For example, if I was recruiting for an athlete, I wouldn’t want to be judging someone off of their freshman year’s performance.
Luckily, I am on a club team and those are currently the only opportunities for providing film for coaches. For tournaments that are still planning to run this summer I think it’s still important to get the stick in your hand and to get some good film because that’s really important during this time; my travel team has really been emphasizing that recently. For these tournaments, we are following the discretion of the CDC and considering potential ways to practice but I know it definitely won’t be in that normal way that we practice before.
My travel team is very, very flexible. I play with an out-of-state team and they’ve always been flexible with me being in South Florida and the rest of the team being in New England. Recently, we had a meeting where we reviewed the CDC’s guidelines about sports, but as of right now, I think the strategy is that our coaches will be putting us in groups where we won’t be at every practice together. My travel team has been very flexible and I am sure that if there are concerns about playing, they will continue to be flexible.
Personally, I've been feeling a little anxious about the effect that the coronavirus has on athletics. I have been thinking about a lot of “what-ifs”. In South Florida, I know certain teams had nine or ten games because their season started much earlier than the rest of the country. Thus, there’s definitely been anxiety for kids who did not get any time to play at all. But as every coach and every player that works with recruiting has been telling us: everyone right now is in the same boat, even if they got time to play in the South. The limitations right now are unanimous for every player.
I was looking forward to my second year of being on a team. This would be an important developmental year, especially knowing that junior year is when recruiting contact starts. Even so, we are all on our toes; checking the NCAA website, my club team resources page and the college recruiting websites. The number one thing is to remember is that everyone right now is in the same boat.
Written by: Tony He