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West Orange Times & Observer Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021 1 month ago

NCAA extends dead period to May 31

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The extension is the eighth since March 2020, and its consequences will be felt by high school athletes.
by: Troy Herring Sports Editor

In a time of uncertainty caused by the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, rules and guidelines have been changed dramatically at the NCAA level — especially regarding recruiting.

On Feb. 17, the Division 1 Council extended the recruiting dead period until no later than May 31 at the behest of the Division I Football, Men’s Basketball and Women’s Basketball Oversight Committees and Division I Legislative Committee, which all cited uncertainty and concern regarding in-person interaction among recruits and their families, as well as current student-athletes and school staff.

The extension — the eighth put into place since March 13, 2020 — means there will be a continuation of no in-person recruiting. Furthermore, recruits still won’t be able to take official visits to campuses.

“It’s a disgrace,” said Brad Lord, the football operations and athletic collegiate placement director at Foundation Academy. “These kids have been back a year — they’ve missed all of last year, and they had no exposure summer camps. People are allowed to go to bars, movie theaters and people are going to sporting events … and there’s 7-on-7s going on now, and I guess college coaches must carry the virus more than anyone that goes to a bar.”

Although the 2021 class was somewhat affected by changes put in place last year,  it’s the 2022 class that will be among the most affected by this recent development.

Normally during the spring, college coaches visit schools to get in-person looks at recruits — which also gives players a chance to show their skills in the journey toward finding their college of choice. This year, Lord said he had more than 100 collegiate coaches who had planned to check out the Lions football team between April 15 and May 22, but that’s not happening.

Furthermore, during this time, Lord usually takes his team on a collegiate camp tour that includes stops at schools such as the University of Alabama and Clemson University. That’s also been put on hold.

Although the situation won’t hurt the four- and five-star recruits, everyone else is in for struggles, he said.

“Hunter Moss — he should be having Division 1 looks — but nobody can come see him,” Lord said. “With offensive lineman, coaches want to eyeball these kids. Not having any camps last year really hurt the 2022s.”

To lessen the blow the spring season — many Florida schools will be holding spring games — the council provided a blanket waiver that “increased the number of hours football teams can spend on countable, athletically related, out-of-season activities” from eight to 10 hours per week. Those 10 hours can include: up to four hours per week for meetings/film review; up to two hours per week for walk-throughs; and no more than six hours of physical activities (weight training/conditioning).

Another concern with the new change involves the transfer portal. Originally, only a few would enter, but because of how easy the process has become, the portal has exploded the last few years. With talent coming out of bigger programs — such as Alabama and Ohio State — in search of playing time, some high school recruits could lose out.

With that in mind, Lord believes it may be a smart choice for athletes to research their school as much as possible, but look at committing more quickly to avoid losing their shot.

“I’m trying to keep my kids upbeat,” Lord said. “I tell them they can control what they can control — that means their grades, their work ethic and staying in shape … but everything else is a mystery right now. I’ve never seen anything like it.”

Troy Herring is the sports editor at the West Orange Times and Windermere Observer. He is a graduate of the University of Mount Olive (BS '12) and the University of Alabama (MA '16)....

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