COVID-19 creates uncertainty for athletes seeking college scholarships

With sports seasons cancelled and postponed as a result of the pandemic, high school athletes are left unsure in regards to their post-high school athletic plans.

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Matt Ross

With the cancellation of many sports seasons due to COVID-19, athletes in seek of college scholarships for sports have less opportunities to impress colleges.

Due to the global pandemic caused by COVID-19, athletes are facing uncertain times when it comes to pursuing a scholarship.  

The cancellation of many seasons as a result of the pandemic has left athletes unsure of where they stand, as every school is treating the recruitment process differently. This process usually entails an in-person meeting with coaches or athletic directors, sending clips of gameplay to the coaches, and being invited to play in-person for the coach.  However, due to COVID-19 athletes can’t meet coaches, tour schools or even record themselves playing their sport in a real game/match. 

“Corona(virus) has significantly affected the recruitment process due to the fact that I can no longer visit schools or attend football camps,” said Cayman Stevens, a senior athlete at Granite Bay High School. “Senior year was supposed to be my break out year to show colleges what I am really made of; however, the season was moved to (the) winter— the time (in which) an athlete usually is already committed to a school.”

Senior year was supposed to be my break out year to show colleges what I am really made of; however, the season was moved to (the) winter— the time (in which) an athlete usually is already committed to a school.”

— Caymen Stevens

This leaves athletes suspended in a limbo because they can only send past gameplay via email and wait around in uncertainty for their season to resume. This might sound good for current athletes attending college, but high school seniors pursuing a scholarship are now in jeopardy. 

 “Colleges I have been talking to have been revoking their offers, because they no longer need to fill my position on the roster,” said senior Drake Domme, a lacrosse and water polo athlete at GBHS who has many offers to play in college for both sports.

In college, athletes are provided “athletic eligibility”— a window of four seasons in a five year span to play for the school.  This means the extra year of eligibility will keep the entire roster full; there will be no room on the team for incoming freshmen as well as no money for them to attend the school on a scholarship. 

“This past spring volleyball players received an extra year of eligibility for missing the season,” said Jeff Demure, a GBHS alumni and current sophomore attending Concordia Irvine.  “I’m sure that they will repeat that process.”

On March 30, 2020, the National Collegiate Athletic Association came out with a statement regarding all Division One athletes of all sports.

“Schools can authorize an additional season of competition and an extension of their period of eligibility” said Michelle Brutlag, the Associate Director of Communications for NCAA.

This year’s problems will prove to become an even bigger issue for all athletes for the next few years. Fighting for a place on the team will be more competitive than ever, and with the economy in turmoil due to COVID-19, there will be significantly less money colleges can offer students in a scholarship.  

Apart from division one, all situations are different and unique in consideration to the location of the school, the type of sport and when the season takes place. 

In the end, there is no clear cut solution to this problem; nothing is guaranteed in these uncertain times for athletes.

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