COVID-19 Impact on Youth Sports
By: Tyre Pinder
Let’s face it COVID-19, or better known as The Coronavirus is very real and very bad. It's already spread across....
Let’s face it COVID-19, or better known as The Coronavirus is very real and very bad. It's already spread across the globe and the death toll is estimated to hit the hundreds of thousands in the U.S. alone, and that’s in the best-case scenario. Businesses are closing indefinitely; people are losing their jobs. Relatives who live in the same city are forced to be apart and sorority girl (IG) captions are getting even more generic.
Did I make it obvious I’m in college? Regardless, I digress because the fact of the matter is that we’re all being affected by the Coronavirus. Humans have had pandemics in the past dating back to 430 B.C.in Athens Greece but the first true pandemic of the modern era was the flu pandemic in 1889. Since then we’ve had Spanish flu, H1N1, and that brings us to the present day, where Coronavirus is the latest and clearly greatest viral pandemic threatening us today. It has even gotten to the point that no large gatherings or even medium to small can take place.
Family reunions, gone, birthday parties, gone, entertainment spectacles such as movie releases and concerts gone. Sports, a staple of American and international culture, stripped away. The NBA Playoffs and NCAA tournament, fixtures of this time of year were canceled as well as all the NCAA’s spring sports. Seniors have lost their last shining moments as amateur athletes, and some may have even lost their last chance to get a look at the professional level. Even the NFL has no timetable set in stone for when they may start their season. The shadow of COVID-19 looms over the world and all its communal pastimes.
That being said, the NCAA has suspended recruiting until at least May 31st, after that period they can once again recruit and players will be allowed to visit campuses, and coaches will be allowed to recruit, the lifeblood of any successful program. However, the April “Live Period” has been canceled, and greatly affects Freshman, Sophomores, and Juniors who to this point have flown under the radar.
This is a possibly crippling blow to those who needed this time to get their name out and set themselves apart from their peers. This comes after recruiting reform rules following the FBI sting of the NCAA stripped players of one of the weeks of the Live period in July, as opposed to the two-week system student-athletes have become accustomed to. First that and now this, “out of the frying pan into the fire as they say.” The feeling of desperation and loss of opportunity is especially felt by a state such as Oklahoma, long overlooked for its hoop’s talent. Rightfully labeled a football state, Oklahoma has more than its fair share of college-level basketball players, and increasingly so in the Division 1 level talent pool in recent years. Unfortunately, most schools don’t come to Oklahoma to scout players based on word of mouth, or with the purpose of simply checking players out. For most, they must prove their worth on the court at these NCAA Live Period events, with coaches seeing them with their own two eyes in most situations. This brings forth the question for many, “so now what?”
While this is an overall unfortunate situation there are some things that players can do to help their chances to be seen and get coaches' eyes on them. All hope is not lost, and in some ways now is a unique opportunity. It is vital to put out your film from your most recent high school season, as this is the only way a coach who knows of you, but has yet to attend a game can see what you’ve done in the last year. This could also be an opportunity to be seen by new schools because as a result of this recruiters have more time on their hands. Just remember, highlights are good, game tapes are better. It gives a full scope of who you are as a player and what personality, mannerisms, and habits you can potentially bring to their program, good or bad. Another good idea for players is to stay in touch with coaches during this time they cannot see you. Send them a text and let them know what you’re up to from a player standpoint. Think about it like this, if you don’t talk to a friend for an extended period, are you inclined to think of them when inviting people to an event? The same principle applies here.
Last but certainly not least, when recruiting opens, possibly inquire about a workout on campus. Even a small flash of your ability goes a long way, especially if you’re a prospect currently on the outside looking in. Hopefully, this troubling and trying time doesn’t diminish your enthusiasm or optimism, but if it does keep your head up, you can still give yourself a fighting chance.