Recruitment in a pandemic: athletes’ perspective on college sports recruitment

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Ori Gal and Tara Kapoor

Filming practices, zooming coaches nationwide, and missing crucial in-person playing time at high visibility tournaments are a few of the many shifts that Palo Alto High School athletes have experienced in light of the COVID-19 pandemic foundering the college recruiting season.

Typically stretching from the end of sophomore year onwards, current juniors were particularly devastated by the limitations of the pandemic, which began in March 2020, on in-person interaction with college coaches.

“It was our junior season, it was the first time that we could even talk to coaches, and they couldn’t come watch us,” junior Sydney Sung, a University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill golf commit, said. “A big part of recruiting is just going out and watching your recruit… . Recruiting is so like a personal thing, because you’re making a four-year commitment.”

Seniors, on the other hand, were impacted later in their recruitment season. Senior Kylie Mies said the college decision process was challenging given college visit options were limited.

“I was talking to a lot of schools on the East Coast, but I couldn’t go to the east coast just because of the pandemic,” Mies said. “The whole thing I was just doing was just talking to coaches on the phone, and the major thing that made me choose to go to Pomona in SoCal [southern California] was that I could visit and that it was close to home.”

Hear more about what student-athletes have to say by watching the full video below: