Covid-19 and College Recruiting

The college athletic recruitment process might be changed for years to come.


Rachel Ritzmann, Staff Writer

In the age of Covid-19, college scouts are not able to come in person and watch athletes perform. This has affected many of the Broomfield High School athletes. With many of the 2020 athletic seasons pushed back, shortened, or even cancelled, college recruitment opportunities have become slim.

High school athletics is one major way to start a college athletic career. College scouts come from all over to watch athletes compete in their sports. Many high school athletes train and work hard to get recruited by their ideal college. These athletes must compete against many other amazing athletes including their closest friends or even siblings.

Basketball senior, Landon Natrass plays point guard on the Broomfield team. He is heading out to Eastern Wyoming College to play Region IX JuCo basketball. “Covid has made [my plans] very difficult,” Natrass said. He felt disappointed once he heard about college scouts not being able to watch in-person. “Well, it sucked because then I knew from there, I would have to go the JuCo route.” But, even though Covid-19 has made his recruiting process long and hard, Natrass is still grateful. “I’m very excited, and I’m very, very thankful for this opportunity to be playing college basketball at the end of the day,” he said.

One of the Broomfield football players has had a difficult time with his recruitment process. Hall Edmonds, the middle linebacker and running back for the football team, has had a difficult time trying to get recruited for college football. Edmonds mentions that he already has difficulty getting recruited because of his physical appearance. “In football, size is a big deal and I’m not tall enough to play at that level,” he said. So, having to compete against taller players on top of Covid-19 procedures has made it extremely hard for Edmonds.

“Honestly, I was kind of mad because, with it being my senior season, of course it’s a huge year for recruitment. And you know it’s a big deal having the coaches come to the game and see you play in-person just to see how you [play] on the field,” said Edmonds.

Since most of the athletic seasons have gotten pushed back to the spring, it was a major upset for many of the fall and winter athletes. Luckily, the NCAA had made the decision that football will be played in the fall, which opened up more opportunities. Edmonds said, “I was scared because, I mean by that point, we would have been missing both of the signing days. If we would have played in the spring it would have made it almost impossible to get an offer [from colleges] if you didn’t already have one.”

However, he kept his head up and listened to Coach Hubbard, head coach of the football team. “‘E+R=O, event plus reaction equals outcome,’” said Edmonds, as he quoted his coach. He has looked at the negative event, reacted as positively as he could, and the outcome has become positive. With this positive outcome, Edmonds has had two offers from Western Missouri State and Colorado School of Mines.

Looking at this from a new perspective, Tony McCall, Men’s Head Soccer Coach at Regis University, has had many difficulties trying to recruit new players for his team. “The problem for us right now is the NCAA has given everyone an additional year of eligibility, so we have seniors who want to come back for a fifth year. So what that does is take away our ability to bring in freshman,” said McCall. This causes a limited amount of scholarships being offered to incoming freshmen. Because of the disruption that Covid-19 has caused, the recruitment pattern has changed drastically. “I think it will be three or four years before we get back into the rhythm of recruiting that we’ve been used to,” McCall said.

Soccer has been a bit easier to recruit for because of club teams. Other sports like football or basketball do not have as many club team options, therefore making recruitment harder. McCall said, “Typically right now we are trying to focus on club games, if possible. The majority of our recruiting right now is done by receiving resumes and videos, which is really not ideal.” Videos of workouts and routines have been sent in to many colleges for many different sports, but it’s not the same as watching and experiencing that in-person.

Some recruiters, including McCall, have branched out and have explored further into students’ social media. Because they don’t have the luxury of meeting in person, they like to find out how that student’s character is. “We’re actually digging in more to student athletes on social media to see exactly what they’re posting online, because it is very important for us to be able to recruit student athletes who’ve got good character,” said McCall. So, be mindful of what you are posting on social media.

Luckily McCall is very hopeful for himself as a coach and for students as athletes. “I don’t think they’re giving up the opportunity. What’s happening is some of them are starting to consider taking a gap year,” said McCall.

In the midst of Covid-19, athletic recruiting for colleges has become very difficult for coaches and athletes. With the halt of in-person scouting, many new obstacles have become prominent and these new challenges need to be faced. Luckily, these students and coaches have not lost hope and have turned a negative situation into a positive.