The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic officially trickled down to the recruiting world on Wednesday when Ohio State head coach Ryan Day announced that the Buckeyes will suspend official and unofficial visits to campus through April 20. Day also said his coaching staff will not recruit off campus this spring while the program follows the university’s temporary travel guidelines.
A source at Texas indicated that the NCAA is likely to shutdown recruiting for all sports until April 15, confirming a report by Jon Rothstein of CBS. That would include everything except for phone calls. Prospects would not be permitted to take officials or unofficial visits to campuses, while college coaches would not be allowed to go visit recruits at their respective high schools.
Source: The NCAA has suspended recruiting for all sports both on and off campus until April 15th.Advertisement
— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) March 13, 2020
As a growing number of coronavirus cases have been confirmed across the country, major sporting events have been impacted. The NBA has suspended its season, as did the NHL and MLB. The conference basketball tournaments were suspended on Thursday.
March and April are important times in the recruiting cycle, too. Recruits in the 2021 class can begin taking official visits on April 1. College coaches can go on the road to watch recruits during spring practices starting April 15. Not this cycle.
The introduction of the early signing period in December sped up the recruiting process, leading to a larger emphasis placed on spring and summer recruiting. Travel restrictions could inadvertently slow down that part of the recruiting cycle for many prospects.
Texas football benefits from the throngs of athletes who come to Austin for the yearly Texas Relays. The state-wide track event held in Austin was also cancelled to avoid spread of the COVID-19.
Texas’ 2021 class consists of six members and ranks eighth in the country and first in the Big 12, per 247Sports’ composite ratings. The Longhorns plan to host official visitors like offensive linemen Tommy and James Brockermeyer, quarterback pledge Jalen Milroe and outside linebacker pledge Derrick Harris Jr. during June.
The inability to host visitors during March or April would hinder recruiting efforts across the country. The inability to travel to high schools to scout in-person is especially detrimental for Texas, a program with new offensive and defensive coordinators and multiple new assistants who would benefit from more time on the road to scout potential targets and build relationships with coaches across the state.