Recruiting student-athletes amid COVID-19

By: CHASE GUERDET (LCTV)

During this time of social distancing and closed campuses, many colleges and universities have adopted the idea of digital tours and similar virtual methods, but when it comes to sports recruitment, what’s the approach?

Coach Matt Jones
(Photo Courtesy Loras College)

Fortunately, Loras coaches have not yet seen a negative impact on recruitment as a result of not having face-to-face contact with prospective student-athletes. “So far our recruiting numbers have been fantastic,” said Matt Jones, Head Coach of Track & Field. 

“This is one of the biggest classes we have had in my 14 years here at Loras.”

He credits this vast amount of recruits to the increase of coaches reaching out.

T.J Miller, Head Coach for Wrestling, backed this up saying, “If anything, we have more (recruits) than usual.” Coach Miller suggested that this increase may be attributed to their successes both on and off the mat. “It’s easy when talking to a recruit/parents and pointing to the results.”

Coach TJ Miller (Photo Courtesy Loras College)

Miller also explained their new method to recruit utilizing online meeting applications like Zoom, “I think doing the zooms calls and making sure that parents are included in those is helpful as well.  If parents feel comfortable with us as coaches, the decision becomes easier for a student to commit here (even if they haven’t seen the place). “

Coach Jones also takes a positive look at the challenges COVID-19 brings saying it gives an opportunistic head start on next year’s recruitment. “Most years, we are working through the summer months on the current class and so wrapped up in the track season that it’s challenging to move your focus onto the next class.”

Coach Miller finished his thoughts reinforcing his outlook,

“It’s actually forced me to be better at the craft of recruiting and finding different ways to get athletes engaged.”

As a last statement, he gives a wider context of the situation COVID-19 brings nationwide, “It helps me knowing that all schools are dealing with the same issue, so it’s a level playing field.”

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