Photo courtesy of Paige Anderson
With start dates being pushed back over and over, resources continuing to be limited, and season time winding down, the COVID-19 pandemic has made daily life increasingly more difficult for many developing athletes. College recruiting is already hard enough, but for student athletes like Paige Anderson and Colby Dimsdale, COVID-19 has made the process more difficult.
Senior and varsity swimmer Colby Dimsdale shares some difficulties he faced this season.
“Michigan was one of the last states for indoor pools to open which limited me for months,” Dimsdale said. “Furthermore, I had no times to send to the coaches of colleges because there were no meets.”
Athletic ability is the main determinant for college coaches to look at, and decide if they want a certain athlete on their team. Because of the limited accessibility of sports facilities in Michigan, athletes are struggling to update their times and records in competition to players in other states, who have more resources readily available, giving other athletes an advantage.
“Other [highschools] out of state haven’t had to shut down quite as significantly as we have,” boys varsity swim coach Kyle Larson said. “You may have a bunch of high school athletes out in Colorado, or California for example, who have been able to have their full seasons. So now those kids have an advantage over high school athletes in Michigan.” Another challenge many athletes are facing is establishing a relationship with a coach and their team. This has been a difficulty for many athletes, including senior Paige Anderson, who is a cross country and track athlete, before she committed to Kalamazoo college to run cross country.
“Usually you’ll stay overnight and hang out with people on the team and see what it’s like to be a student around campus, but you couldn’t do that this year,” said Anderson.
Even if athletes are given the opportunity to compete for a university, it can be hard to decide which school is best, because they aren’t able to experience campus life or interact with possible future teammates.
Athletic recruiting has never stopped, but the factors that go into finding the right athletes and universities have changed significantly.