COVID-19's ramifications on Louisville Basketball recruiting

Matthew McGavic

When the NCAA instituted a mandatory dead period as a response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it flipped the recruiting calendar completely on its head. Visits and evaluations that were set to take place over the coming weeks were all of sudden thrown into limbo.

Even the best laid plans go often astray, and Louisville men's basketball head coach Chris Mack had plenty of them. He was slated to hit the recruiting trail hard once the season was originally supposed to conclude.

"April is usually a time for us to do home visits and to collect information on various AAU teams, which kids are playing for what teams and what events they’ll be at," Mack said in a teleconference with reporters on Tuesday. "This April we were supposed to have two live periods – one of which, an Adidas event, was going to be held in Louisville."

The Adidas 3 Stripe Select Basketball circuit was scheduled to make a stop at the Kentucky Exposition Center on Apr. 17-19, before it and many other spring recruiting events were indefinitely suspended due to the coronavirus.

"We couldn’t host kids for unofficials during that time but it would still show off our city and program," Mack said. "We were sort of excited about that for kids to be able to see our city and then they’d have the opportunity to walk themselves over or drive around campus."

Even summer recruiting could potentially be on hold. Originally the dead period was set to last until Apr. 15, then the Division I Council Coordination Committee would decide on whether or not in-person recruiting could resume. However on Apr. 1, the Council opted to extend the dead period by a month and a half to May 31.

The fluidity of the pandemic makes in unclear when normal activities such as in-home visits, high school camps and AAU can resume. Whenever they do, the NCAA will have a tough time on their hands when redrawing the recruiting calendar.

"Do they extend [the dead period] more days in either one of those months? Do they move some evaluation days to August or September?" Mack questioned. "We’re going to have to follow the guidelines of whatever happens with the NCAA. Once we understand what the calendar looks like we’ll adjust."

For the time being, him and every other collegiate coach in America is confined to the same thing: watching film and working the phones.

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