PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The COVID-19 pandemic is forcing changes to the fanfare of being recruited by any college team but especially smaller schools on a budget.
With the safety measures in place much of the pomp and circumstance won’t happen for high student athletes looking to play at the next level.
Technology is allowing athletic departments to think outside the box.
“Look at the NBA. No one ever talked about a bubble before but you have to think outside the box and try to be creative in the way you go about things,” Point Park University Director of Athletics John Ashaolu said.
Ashaolu said most recruiting is now virtual. From Zoom calls to virtual visits but their location allows for student athletes to at least check out campus on their own.
“We’re situated in a great area. Right downtown, so anyone can come downtown and walk around. Some of our recruits have done that,” he said inside the university’s student center.
For any recruits wanting a tour, there is a screening process, social distancing guidelines and the use of PPE. Washington and Jefferson College Athletic Director Scott McGuinness said the same goes for his school.
“These virtual options have really helped us and helped a lot of institutions continue the recruiting when a lot of other things have stopped around the world,” he said over Zoom.
He said technology allows athletes to get coaches game film without putting anyone at an increased risk.
“They can send those to coaches where coaches don’t need to go to North Allegheny on a Friday night to watch a football player or soccer player,” he said.
Both AD’s said these changes are helping them stay on budget.
“It’s opened up the door to some students who maybe wouldn’t have been able to travel to campus, but we can contact them out on the west coast,” McGuinness said.
“With the virtual recruiting and Zoom calls, you can recruit nationwide and internationally on a consistent basis without needing that big budget,” Ashaolu told KDKA.
Both schools say coaches have gone to events to check out some recruits but they’re trying to avoid hot zones.
La Roche University said they too are using more virtual options to recruit athletes and keep everyone safe from exposure to the virus.