The current pandemic has affected and changed everyday life in many ways. The world of sports has undergone drastic changes as well, specifically, college basketball. Many teams are frequently testing, having their athletes evaluate their wellness everyday, and adapting to the ever changing regulations. The official start date for Division I basketball is set for Wednesday, November 25th and practices opened on October 14th. Recruiting is an additional challenge for programs as they navigate new NCAA rules and COVID-19 regulations. This blog will outline the current status and rules for recruitment among Division I, II, III, NAIA and NJCAA athletics and discuss how coaches and players can adapt and navigate this new process.
NCAA Division I: There is currently no in-person recruiting until January first (last updated on September 17th).
NCAA Division II: Normal recruiting has resumed as of September 1.
NCAA Division III and NAIA: There has not been any official updates, each program has adapted to coronavirus guidelines based on their state’s guidelines.
NJCAA: The suspension of in-person recruiting was lifted as of May 15th.
Due to the pandemic, there has been an increase in digital recruiting across the country. There are many resources available to high school athletes to get started on the recruiting process digitally. Here is a list of a few to jumpstart the process.
NCSA Athletic Recruiting: This platform is designed to get student-athletes connected to coaches. Players are able to create a profile, reach out to coaches, be contacted by coaches, and add film. This platform is free but has the option to upgrade with premium paid features.
BeRecruited: This platform is another tool to help players connect with coaches. Players can create a free profile with performance highlights and start their recruiting process! This network has 25,000 coaches and 2 million athletes.
SchollyMe: This program allows athletes to upload their transcripts, GPA/SAT scores, request an online evaluation based on the game film on their profile and search for college coaches at all levels.
Honest Game: This platform works to help athletes build a roadmap to academic eligibility for college sports. They automate academic eligibility with verified academic data, giving real-time eligibility updates so athletes are able to have a clear pathway to college!
All of these platforms provide great opportunities for athletes to get recruited and showcase their achievements in order to get noticed by college coaches. It is important to note that athletes should still be proactive by sending emails, calling and filling out recruit questionnaires. College coaches are very busy so if a player sits around waiting to be contacted, they might miss out on an opportunity.
Create a Recruiting Video
The pandemic has hindered many teams from playing games and for teams that get to play, D1 college coaches can’t attend the games to evaluate players. Recruiting videos have always been a helpful addition to a players profile, but now more than ever is essential to showcasing their talent to coaches at all levels. Here are some tips to create a great highlight video according to NCSA!
Compile footage of previous games from your coach(es).
Showcase highlights from important games (playoffs, championships, AAU games, etc).
Make sure you are clearly seen in the video.
Create a title screen that includes your name and graduation year, “John Doe Men’s Basketball Recruiting Video Class of 2021”.
In order to capture attention put your best clips first (usually ones demonstrating your shooting ability).
Make sure to showcase your best strengths (defense, assists, 3 point shots, etc.).
Make sure your clip is under 4 minutes, and no more than 30 clips.
When sending your recruit highlight video to coaches be sure to also send an unedited game video. Coaches who are intrigued by the highlights will want to watch a full game but because of COVID they can’t watch games in person so this is a great alternative.
Answer & Ask Questions
In order to get the most out of recruitment visits or zoom calls being prepared with questions is a must! Coaches will have questions for you and you should be prepared with answers and questions to pose. Here are some questions college coaches may ask you:
What are your strengths and weaknesses as a player?
What are you looking for in a program?
What other colleges are you interested in/looking at?
What is your intended major?
What would it mean to you to be a part of our program?
What has been the most difficult obstacle of your career so far?
After answering the questions college coaches have for you, they will likely ask if you have any questions. Being prepared with questions will allow you to learn the most about the program and demonstrate that you are active and engaged in the recruitment process.
Players should avoid asking about scholarships right away because it is a HUGE pet peeve of many college coaches. Players should do their best to learn about the program and see if it will be a good fit for them, develop a relationship with the coach(es) and then ask about scholarship potential or requirements. Another good rule of thumb for athletes to follow is: if you can find the answer on google don’t ask the coach. Here are some ideas for questions you can ask:
What is a typical practice week like for your program?
What are some of the biggest challenges that freshmen face during their first year?
What is the team culture like?
What positions on the team are you currently looking to fill?
What is your coaching philosophy?
What are you looking for in a player?
Do most of your players graduate in four years?
What goals do you have for the upcoming season?
Even though the pandemic has changed a lot of aspects recruiting, it is important for players to adapt and navigate these changes proactively. Technology is playing a huge role in the current recruiting process through zoom calls and recruitment platforms. Athletes should research platforms and see which one fits their needs and budget. Making a highlight video is more important than ever since many coaches can’t see games in person. Once a recruit has an opportunity to do an online or in-person visit they should be prepared to answer questions about their career, stats, and player development. Athletes should also have a list of thoughtful questions to ask the coach about the program, team goals, and university. As long as athletes remain proactive and utilize the technology available to them they will be able to navigate the recruitment process—even amidst a pandemic.