Aspiring NCAA athletes react to changes to in-person college recruitment visits, scholarship decisions


Luke Miller

Senior Maggie Love swims the butterfly stroke after school in preparation for the upcoming season for the varsity women’s swim team.She said she is committed to Purdue University but is frustrated with the changes to college recruiting. She said she wished she could meet the coaches face-to-face because so she could feel like a student athlete.

Alivia Romaniuk

On Sept. 16, the NCAA suspension of all Division 1 in-person recruiting went into place. This suspension is effective through Jan. 1 and prohibits coaches from meeting in-person with potential student athletes both on and off campuses. Recruitment, like every aspect of everyday life, has had to improvise due to COVID-19.

The NCAA also advised colleges to avoid both official and unofficial visitation and encouraged the use of virtual recruitment in order to maintain safety protocols.

With National Signing Days approaching for each sport, these restrictions have impacted the way senior athletes at this school make their college decisions.

Annie Christie, member of the varsity cross-country and track teams and senior, said COVID-19 has significantly altered her college decision process.

“It’s very different. With in-person recruitment you get to take official visits where you spend 48 hours with the team. You get a really good feel for what a day would be like if you were to be in that specific team,” she said.

“With online recruitment, you are very limited. You can really only talk to the athletes and coaches about what a typical week would look like, not experience it,” she said.

Maggie Love, member of the varsity women’s swim team and senior, said she committed to Purdue University in August.

“The recruitment process is completely different due to COVID-19 and it’s definitely very frustrating and pushed back my recruiting timeline,” she said.

Love said she had multiple college visits planned during April and May but were all canceled due to the new rules from the NCAA.
According to Christopher Plumb, head coach of the women’s swim team, “The process has changed in that there are less college visits taking place this fall and there is much more recruiting being done online.”


Online recruitment takes the form of emails, texts and social media. It has been the principal form of recruitment since the national shutdowns in March.

“I’ve just been doing a lot of phone calls and doing some Zoom calls with both coaches and athletes in the team. Having a Zoom call with the team has been super beneficial because it has allowed me to ask questions and get to know the girls,” Christie said.

However with the widespread use of online resources for recruitment, Christie and Love both said that it is not as effective as in-person visitation.

Love said, “I got to participate in a virtual visit with the coaches, the support staff, and some of the girls on the team to just try and get a feel of the whole environment and all.

“I definitely would have loved to visit in person. Official visits have always been the best part about the recruiting process,” Love said.
She added, “I wasn’t able to take those official visits which are made so you can get the feel of exactly what it’s like to be a student athlete at each school.”

According to Christie, the lack of official visits has been especially difficult, as athletes often rely on them to make their college decision.
She said, “I think (official college visits) are super important and really the deciding factor for whether or not you like the program. I really wanted to get the full recruiting experience but obviously that’s not achievable.

“A lot of athletes I’ve talked to said that their official visits are what decided it for them, so not being able to do that is really disappointing,” Christie said.

Plumb said he advises any senior athletes hoping to continue sports in college to, “be well rounded and cast a wide net.”

While the NCAA restricts in-person recruitment and visitation, Christie said there are still ways for senior athletes to get a better feel for certain campuses.

“I’ve gone to a few campuses unofficially. I walk around the campus and just get a feel for it and the surrounding area. I’ve met a couple of teams because you’re allowed to do that as long as the coach is not involved,” Christie said.

Love said she had a similar experience. She said, “I got to visit (the Purdue University) campus a couple of weeks ago with one of my old friends/teammates who are currently on the team there and they showed me around and answered a lot of my questions.”

If you would like to see how COVID-19 has impacted sports in a different way, click here: Athletes remark on new regulations for spectators at games, reflect on pros, cons – HiLite

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