COVID 19 Leaves Some High School Student-Athletes in the Cold
There will be high school football in the Capital Region of New York today, strange as that seems at the tail end of March, instead of October. We’ve gotten used to some of the abnormalities, such as no fans in the stands and student-athletes competing with masks. Another missing element will be college coaches. COVID 19 protocols don’t allow for “in-person” recruiting through May 31st, right now.
I promise you, if there is an outstanding student-athlete, college coaches will find ways to scout them through video streams and highlight videos. That's a story for another time. The issue that faces so many high school student-athletes that want to continue to play their respective sport in college, is availability of a roster spot.
It’s easy for the NCAA to give all of the last two years of classes with expiring eligibility another year and they should. But to the aspiring high school athlete, in many cases, that’s another roster spot that’s occupied. That could be their potential scholarship, given to an older player with more game experience and an extra year of eligibility. These older and accomplished student-athletes have become very valuable to coaches looking to improve their chances to win, as seen when the NCAA expanded their transfer rules.
Who loses in this equation? The answer isn’t easy but it will definitely include many in the next two high school senior classes. It will also impact scores of universities and colleges that will lose out on some bright and talented student-athletes.
Some collegiate institutions will be able to absorb the cost of extra scholarship waivers, many won’t. Some will be able to outfit with equipment and medically care for the extra roster spots potentially allowed for by the NCAA, most won’t. This isn’t a Division I issue or a Division III issue, this is a college athletics issue. Student-athletes that get bumped out of Division I programs will move to DII or DIII. It will be an unfortunate, “COVID 19 caused”, trickle down that will leave its scar on many young student-athletes that won’t have a place to compete.