After Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced schools would continue distance learning for the rest of this school year, the FHSAA (Florida Highschool Athletic Association) made the decision to officially cancel the 2020 Spring Sports season Monday, April 20. Among all the other consequences resulting from the COVID-19 outbreak, the high school recruitment process is negatively affected as sports shut down this spring.
As everyone is following social distancing guidelines, sports seasons shut down and colleges closed, ending all tours and visits for prospective students. This means athletes trying to make it to the next level are put in difficult situations. High school seniors, soon rising college freshmen, cannot visit the schools interested in them and will now have trouble making a well-rounded decision for where their best fit lies. High school juniors are also negatively impacted, as arguably their biggest season to showcase themselves to college coaches has been halted.
The current pandemic affected a number of sports seasons, including, but not limited to: baseball, softball, lacrosse, and track and field.
Right fielder on the girls varsity softball team, junior Alex Lammers explained how the Coronavirus hiatus has affected the recruitment process for all her upper class teammates as they thought they had more time. “Not only does it cut the opportunities to be scouted by colleges, but it also removes any new accomplishment that could have been made during the season that would put us apart from any other school or any other player,” Lammers said.
For most school sports, college coaches can only start reaching out to athletes after September 1 of the student’s junior year, which is usually their performance peak.
Senior attackmen on the varsity Lacrosse team, Zak Bitar also explained how his junior year was crucial to getting an offer from Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) where he plans to play next school year. “Because of recruiting rules, your junior year is the first time you can speak with scouts,” he said. “If I didn’t get the opportunity to play my junior season, who knows if I would have been able to make an impression on RIT.”
Starting goalie for the boys varsity lacrosse team, junior Jake Marek has been hoping to play college lacrosse since elementary school, and the season closing makes that goal even more difficult. “I wasn’t really able to create the best highlight film or get the awards I was supposed to get this year, like maybe All-American, which would’ve put me in the spotlight for coaches,” he said.
All in all, all athletes towards the end of their high school sports career have taken a huge blow from the Coronavirus outbreak, as not only is it going to be much harder for spring sports players to get recruited, but also a lot of players’ final season was cut short.