On Wednesday, the NCAA announced that the recruiting dead period has been extended until May 31. This means that coaches can not meet in person with recruits, or officially host them on campus in any fashion. Coaches have not been able to meet with recruits since last March, when the COVID-19 pandemic first hit.
At this point it is incredible that the NCAA has yet to come up with uniform guidelines that allow schools and coaches have visits or recruits on campus safely. With the availability of testing and social distancing, there should be a way to do this in a way that keeps all parties safe but allows these visits to happen. It doesn't mean that the visits would be like the ones pre-pandemic, but getting the recruits on campus is important.
This ruling is unfair to recruits for a number of reasons. For many of these teens, they have never seen the school that they are signing up to spend the next handful of years. Without being able to go on campus, to see the facilities, to meet in person the coaching staff, they are making decisions without all the information they need. As much as schools try, Zoom calls and virtual tours do not give these high school stuents the same experience.
On top of that by not allowing official visits, these recruits are basically on their own to do visits if they want to. Over the past year there have been plenty of recruits that have unofficially visited schools (but not the staff), on their own dime. But is that fair and equitable for recruits who can't afford plane fare and hotel arrangements? These families are now forced to make decisions without ever visiting the program.
For a school like Boston College, with relatively new head coach Jeff Hafley who had two and a half months to meet with recruits before the pandemic hit, this is also bad news. Hafley is an engaging coach, but he hasn't had the opportunity to bring in almost anyone to visit the campus. During National Signing Day this past December, he remarked that almost the entire class he signed had never been to campus or met him in person. This puts Boston College at a huge strategic disadvantage as many recruits say they want a chance to visit a program before deciding. And getting some of these bigger recruits in front of this staff could be the key factor in where they choose to play. Many of the recruits I have talked to chose another school because they couldn't visit Boston College.
Hopefully this dead period will be the last one imposed by the NCAA due to the COVID-19 pandemic. "However, there is a strong commitment to use the next several weeks to outline the transition plan back to recruiting activities post June 1 and to provide those plans to prospective student-athletes, their families and the NCAA membership no later than April 15." said council chair M. Grace Calhoun in her official statement.
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