College Basketball Recruiting During the Coronavirus Pandemic

This is a unique era… Since March, college athletic departments have been effectively shut down… The NCAA has halted ALL face to face recruiting for Division 1 college basketball coaches… Since March, D1 Basketball recruiting, both men’s and women’s, has been in a dead period

Shit is at a complete standstill…

During a dead period a college coach may not have face-to-face contact with college-bound student-athletes or their parents, and may not watch student-athletes compete or visit their high schools. A “dead” period is a time when coaches cannot have any contact other than phone contact with players they are recruiting. Coaches can’t scout, visit players’ homes, bring recruits in for visits, talk to them in-person. Coaches may write and telephone student-athletes or their parents during a dead period.

We are approaching the 6th month of the current extended dead period. It’s seems likely that the dead period will be extended through the fall.

This begs the question: What should class of 2021 boys and girls with D1 scholarship offers do? How should they proceed?

If kids have scholarship offers that are real, meaning the head coach would accept a commitment, the kid should carefully weigh his options and accept one of the scholarship offers sooner rather than later. Bear in mind, college coaches are constantly engaged in the roster management process. While they may have offered kid A a scholarship, most likely they have made similar offers to kid B, kid C and kid D. Even if kid A is the preferred target, the coach has an obligation to his staff and his team to effectively administer the roster management process.

If the team needs a point guard and kid A is the primary preferred target, but kid B is acceptable and ready to commit, the coach will likely take the commitment from kid B rather than risk not landing an acceptable point guard prospect.

In such a scenario, the options for kid A will be reduced over time as kid B, kid C and kid D accept scholarships. If kid A knows where he wants to go to school and they have offered him a scholarship, he should accept it.

Sometimes, people advising kids want to keep the process open to help other kids in an AAU or HS program. The thought is that having college coaches coming out to see the star player will help increase the visibility for lesser known players in the program. In many instances, that is true…

Not today though… The coaches ain’t coming out…

The advisers may also argue that other “higher profile” programs will eventually offer and the kid shouldn’t take the offers on the table.

Maybe… maybe not… It’s truly a crap shoot this year…

We are operating in truly unforeseen circumstances. Ordinarily, college coaches would have had an opportunity to evaluate kid A in April, June and July during AAU/Grassroots live periods, NCAA camps and HS live periods. Those evaluation opportunities were nonexistent this year. In normal times, college coaches would be able to visit high schools in September and October and evaluate kids in “open gym” settings. It does not appear that D1 coaches will be allowed to do so this year.

The dead period is likely to continue through the fall… It is what it is…

So… If kids have real offers, they have to be creative and find ways to gather the information necessary to make a decision. While they cannot take official or unofficial visits to campuses and engage athletic department staff, they can visit the city and tour the campus on their own. If they really want to see what the campus looks like, get on a plane or gas up the car and go check it out on your own. Ask people questions while you are there. Do what you can do without assistance or contact from the basketball staff.

It’s a big decision… Treat it as such…

Do NOT wait for permission from the NCAA to take official or unofficial visits… It’s probably not coming…

Again… If kids have scholarship offers that are real, meaning the head coach would accept a commitment, the kid should carefully weigh his options and accept one of the scholarship offers sooner rather than later.

Don’t let kid B, kid C or kid D take the scholarship you really want…

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