NCAA Extends Dead Period, Creates Problems for High School Recruiting
High school sports have faced some daunting challenges in 2020, particularly football, which has stirred quite a bit of controversy. This controversy doesn’t just revolve around ballgames actually being played, but the uncertainty and potential risks high school students take due to the ever-revolving door of uncertainty with COVID-19.
Most fall sports are in full swing or beginning to ramp up to it, while some high schools throughout the state of Florida decided the risks of allowing contact sports like football were too great. There should definitely be safe guidelines put in place to protect our youth at the high school level, but the one thing that seems to have cast a heavy shadow over the discussions to ensure safety in our high schools is the effect all of this has on college football.
The University of Florida has the most profitable football program in the state. It is currently valued at approximately $682 million dollars alone. Including schools like the University of Miami, Florida State University, and Central Florida makes college football in the Sunshine State a billion-dollar business.
The FHSAA allowed schools in every district and region to “opt in” to have a shortened season that would allow students to participate in the recruiting process and allow universities to allocate resources to continue a business-as-usual approach.
One thing no one took into consideration is the NCAA. In March, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the NCAA prohibited all face-to-face recruiting activities so they could not be held liable for any potential spread of the virus. This decision was definitely the right choice, but the impact meant college coaches would not be allowed to see recruits through their spring evaluation period. This resulted in potential Division I talents not being able to showcase those skills.
College coaches all over the nation have been forced to settle on using 2018 and 2019 game footage to sure up 2021 recruiting classes. Schools and coaches have had players film themselves weighing in and measuring their height to ensure accurate reports because they haven’t been able to evaluate them in person. Zoom calls have become the norm for high schoolers to converse with the coaches they see on TV on Saturday afternoons.
Players have also lost out on the ability to take official visits to interested campuses and have been forced to make those trips on their own dime. Virtual visits and TikTok videos have become part of the recruiting process.
Now more than ever is it important for not only the universities to do their due- diligence, but it is extremely important that the parents and guardians of these student-athletes do the same. After all, we aren’t just talking about meal plans, financial aid agreements, wasted resources, or how far the local Wal-Mart is from campus.. We’re talking about making the smart choice, and that includes wearing your mask.
Written by: Jacquez McCoy