Bracing for the future

Colleges must adapt to scout high school athletes among COVID-19 precautions


Photo by Kelsey Jones.

With the cancellation of the winter NCAA finals tournament and the entirety of the 2020 high school spring sports season, athletes and coaches are left wondering about the future of college recruitment.

“Things have changed very dramatically in the sense that we can’t go out and see the high school season, and we can’t go out and evaluate talent,” said David Chamberlin, former assistant SHS baseball coach and current Marian University assistant coach.

Recruiting is when college scouts keep an eye on high school athletes in order to decide if they want to offer them a spot on their university’s roster. This is typically done through video or physical observation, but with the measures against COVID-19 stopping all spring sports, recruiters have to alter their methods to scout players. 

According to Chamberlin, many colleges are switching to more digital forms of recruitment and scouting, such as video calls and film watching. 

As a smaller school not in the Big Ten, Marian University’s recruiting process of using film and other forms of communication are similar to before the outbreak.

“In some instances our job is dramatically affected, and in others it’s not been all that affected,” Chamberlin said.

Spring sports players are not the only athletes in jeopardy of losing their 2020 season and having their recruiting chances limited. Many fall and winter athletes are wondering if they will be able to compete again by the time their season rolls around.

Junior Luke Goodwin fears that with the cancellation of all spring sports, his senior wrestling season could come to an end before it’s even started. Seeing as he placed seventh at state as a junior, Goodwin says it would drastically affect his college choices and recruiting because he has not yet gotten the chance to place higher.

“It would really mess up my chances for getting into a college because I would have not gotten the exposure I needed my senior year at state,” Goodwin said.

Junior Gage Nelson also worries that the football season could get canceled, hurting his chances of improving and being seen by colleges.

“I think it would affect my college recruiting by me not being able to practice or get any better during this offseason,” Nelson said.