This year over 40% of clubs moved up their tryout dates to the summer before high school season begins to allow for more time to finalize tournament schedules, order uniforms, book travel and have plans in place in order to focus more on other early season tasks. Add in the fact that the recruiting process was on hold for 14 months, and it’s no wonder that Recruiting Coordinators, Prospective Student Athletes and College Coaches are busier than ever.

Let’s look at 3 factors that are affecting the recruiting calendar and how to navigate the change:

College visits at an all time high

The COVID year that began in March 2020 put a halt on in person college visits. Many student athletes committed without seeing the campus or meeting the coaching staff and team in person. The 2022 prospective student athletes that waited or had offers removed are still taking visits into their senior year of high school. In addition, the rise in COVID-19 delta variant cases is brings the concern that there may another dead period or cause the colleges to prohibit campus tours and visits. Therefore, 2022 and 2023 prospective student athletes are trying to set up visits while they can instead of putting them off until after high school season. Whether it’s an unofficial or an official visit, club Recruiting Coordinators are encouraging their athletes to take advantage of their time rather than wait until it’s too late.

Both 2022s and 2023s are in a different path than years before due to COVID. Recruiting Coordinators can assist the athletes by encouraging them to plan ahead and find opportunities to get on campus or schedule virtual tours. Many student athletes don’t have every weekend open or they play three times in a week, so try to schedule a day or half a day visit.

Navigating partial offers

The roster needs for college programs continue to change and many 2022s are taking visits with the understanding that they may receive a partial offer. College programs honoring the extra year for their current athletes on scholarship are having to adjust their recruiting cycle and may offer three years of scholarship rather than four with the first year being a non scholarship year. Every student athletes needs to know their own financial situation and what is feasible for them when presented with an offer. The college tuition that the family is responsible for paying could be covered by academic scholarships, financial aid and grants. Academic scholarships can be awarded for GPA and/or SAT/ACT scores. Even though test scores are not needed for admission, they could be very beneficial to the student athlete receiving the financial assistance he/she needs to make the partial offer work.

Early tryouts for clubs

Clubs that moved up their tryouts to July and August have new athletes joining their club program now rather than in November. In order to make sure the new athletes have a positive start to their club experience, the club’s Recruiting Coordinator is setting up calls with the new athletes to learn about their academic and athletic goals for the college level, onboard them into the club’s recruiting platform, and begin guiding the athletes with their outreach to college coaches. Find a system that works for the club and the family to maintain communication in an organized manner. If the Recruiting Coordinator is assisting 20 to 30 families at one time, it can very time consuming, however it’s important for everyone to be on the same page, and have all of the updates necessary. College coaches are reaching out the clubs on a regular basis so it’s important for there to be an open line of communication on both sides.

After COVID, recruiting needs have changed and so has the process. It is important for Club Recruiting Coordinators and club coaches to understand that each class right now is in a different phase. Some college programs are trying to finish the 2022 class, whereas top schools are committing 2023s, thus starting the domino effect for other schools as far as who is available, and they have been in contact with since June 15th. Continue to work the process, keep options open and focus on putting in the work on the court and in the classroom.

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This article was a collaboration between JVA Recruiting Education Chair Glenna Bianchin, Recruiting Coordinator for Carolina Union (Charlotte, NC) and JVA Director or Marketing, Education and Partner Development Briana Schunzel.