The summer recruiting schedule was already going to look different during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The NCAA’s decision on Wednesday to extend the recruiting dead period because of the pandemic to June 30, which will shorten the summer recruiting schedule.
College programs have been under the recruiting moratorium since March, when the pandemic forced the cancellation of the end of the winter college sports season and the spring season. Under the dead period, coaches can communicate with recruits via phone, text messaging, emails and social media, but can’t do any in-person evaluation, nor can recruits make official visits to campuses.
Iowa men’s basketball coach Fran McCaffery said in April he was already expecting changes to summer recruiting.
McCaffery is bringing in a five-player freshman class for next season, and has only two scholarships available for the 2021 class with loss of center Luka Garza and Jordan Bohannon, who will be seniors next season.
“It’s going to be different for everybody,” McCaffery said. “Bringing in a class of five this year, it takes some of the pressure off. But we’re also losing, going into the following year, we’re going to lose Garza and you lose Jordan Bohannon, two of the greatest players to ever wear that (Iowa) jersey. So there’s always going to be pressure to find their replacement and get the same kind of quality that we would have expected to get in a typical year.”
Football programs lost an evaluation period from April 15-May 31, but it hasn’t affected the Hawkeyes. Iowa’s 2021 football recruiting class has 14 commitments, ahead of last year’s pace. The Hawkeyes had eight players in the 2020 class commit in June last year, with all making visits during the month.
Men’s basketball lost recruiting and evaluation periods in April. Women’s basketball lost three evaluation periods in April and May.
With the extension of the dead period, men’s basketball will lose three evaluation periods. Football loses a quiet period when players could make unofficial and official visits to campus. Women’s basketball had a quiet period through July 5. Baseball and softball programs lose a large chunk of a contact period that runs through July 31.
July has two evaluation periods for men’s basketball, but one of those was for the NCAA College Basketball Academy, which was canceled on Tuesday. McCaffery figures recruiting events that month around the nation likely will be canceled.
“So what we’ve done is stay in direct contact with the guys we had been recruiting, in particular,” McCaffery said. “And at the same time, try to network and get involved with some other guys. The hard part there is if you don’t see them in person, you don’t have the same feel for what you think their impact could be, and you can’t have a similar conversation with regards to what your vision is for that person. So that may just have to wait.
“When you’re only really looking to sign two, there’s not as much pressure. We’re involved with some good players that I think we’ve established a good relationship with. Maybe we get one, maybe we get two when it’s over. Or maybe we sign and carry one to the following year, because we might redshirt a guy in this class. So there’s a lot of ways to look at it.”