HUNTINGTON — While NCAA sports teams are looking to slowly get back into workouts and competitions in hopes of a 2020-21 season, coaches looking for athletes beyond that season are still in a holding pattern.
On Wednesday, the NCAA Division I Council Coordination Committee voted to extend the recruiting dead period for all sports through the end of July.
“The extension maintains consistent recruiting rules for all sports and allows coaches to focus on the student-athletes who may be returning to campus,” said NCAA Division I Council Chairwoman M. Grace Calhoun, who is also director of athletics at the University of Pennsylvania. “The committee is committed to reviewing the dead period again in late June or early July.”
That recruiting dead period was mandated in early March following the World Health Organization’s declaration that the new coronavirus was a global pandemic.
That announcement triggered the shutdown of all sports within the NCAA on March 12. There have been no contests since that time with the NCAA men’s and women’s basketball tournaments, the College World Series and other championship events being canceled in the process.
Originally, the recruiting dead period was set to run through May before it was extended to June. Today, it got extended once more with the Division I Council’s decision.
As safety measures started to increase and the effects of COVID-19 have started to stabilize, the NCAA has called for the return of some activity — most recently announcing on May 21 that student-athletes in football and men’s and women’s basketball could return to voluntary workouts, starting June 1.
That was later amended last Friday to include all Division I student-athletes.
While voluntary workouts can resume on June 1 with strict guidelines for Division I student-athletes, the NCAA is making the call that travel for prospective student-athletes and those recruiting them is still too risky.
For college football, it is an important decision because Division I programs remain hopeful that there will be a 2020 season starting in late August or early September.
For that to occur, those programs will likely need to start in mid- to late July and the hope of coaches across the nation was that some in-person recruiting may be able to occur prior to the start of a potential season.
Wednesday’s announcement means that, if the season gets underway as planned, coaches will likely have extremely limited time to get on the road prior to the early December signing period for the Class of 2021.
In addition to the announcement regarding the extension of the recruiting dead period, the NCAA Division I Council determined that, as of June 1, strength and conditioning coaches may virtually observe voluntary physical workouts for health and safety purposes, but only if requested by the student-athlete.