As the U.S. passes the eight month mark since the Covid-19 pandemic began, colleges and universities across the country are working on ways to recruit new athletes while following NCAA guidelines. Lafayette is no different, and athletic director Sherryta Freeman is spearheading the school’s efforts to recruit new athletes virtually.
In a recent interview with The Lafayette, Freeman went into detail about the implications of the coronavirus on the recruiting process.
“The beneficial part about what the NCAA has done from a recruiting standpoint is that they have implemented a recruiting ban across all conferences or across all sports for everyone,” Freeman said.
As part of the NCAA’s recruiting ban, Lafayette and other institutions are currently not allowed to hold visits for prospective athletes. The ban has been in place since the onset of the pandemic and will stay in place until at least January 1.
But Freeman added that some of the limitations affect prospective athletes as much as they do colleges and universities. College coaches and recruiters are barred from attending club and high school events, meaning that coaches cannot see an athlete participate in live competition, which has led to some high school athletes having more trouble getting exposure to college coaches.
That being said, Lafayette has found ways to stay up to date with their recruiting process and have actively remained in the hunt. Although Lafayette is unable to host potential recruits, Freeman noted that due to advancements in virtual communication, Lafayette hasn’t lost any power in their recruiting efforts.
“All of the coaches across the country, including ours at Lafayette, are recruiting virtually,” she said.
Whether it be over Zoom or other methods of engaging with student-athletes, Lafayette hasn’t missed out on opportunities to continue adding future Leopards. This goes for high school athletes as well, with recruiting sites such as Hudl becoming more important than ever for an athlete to receive attention.
Freeman also mentioned the silver lining in virtual recruiting: it levels the playing field in many ways and allows Lafayette to compete with schools with a significantly larger recruiting budget. Less money is being spent on recruiting this semester since the college does not have to pay for flights or hotels for coaches to meet with athletes and watch them compete.
Furthermore, an even wider network is now open since Lafayette does not have to worry about a recruiting budget, allowing coaches from Lafayette to meet virtually with any athlete. Given the circumstances of the Covid-19 pandemic, Freeman said she remains optimistic that prospective student-athletes will ultimately see Lafayette as a tremendous place for the next step of their academic and athletic journey.