Local student athletes affected by NCAA recruiting dead period

Sports

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Due to the pandemic, the NCAA enacted a dead period preventing high school student athletes from going on official campus visits.

The ban also doesn’t allow coaches to meet recruits in person or for recruits to meet what could be their future teammates.

The dead period has been in place since March 2020 and was just extended last week to April 15 meaning recruits will have had no official visits, no in-home visits and no in-person visits with coaches for more than a year.

“I haven’t been on any visits yet to any of these schools that are recruiting me I just thought ‘Enough is enough,'” said Olentangy Liberty junior Carter Smith.

Smith is an offensive tackle at Liberty and has gotten interest from Division I schools like Cincinnati, Boston College and Indiana.

He’s just one of thousands of student athletes who can’t go on official college visits, so Smith decided to take matters into his own hands writing an essay to the NCAA with the hopes of eliminating the dead period.

“It’s nowhere near the right experience for me to decide on a school because how am I supposed to get the actual feel for that place when I’m sitting here at home looking at it through a screen?” Smith said.

It’s a question many prospective athletes are trying to navigate, including Sean Jones, a junior basketball standout at Gahanna.

“You know I feel like it’s been harder for us all to make decisions with the way we’re having to go with things right now,” Jones said. “I feel like it would all make us more decisive on what we want to do.”

Some players, like Desmond Watson from St. Francis DeSales, already know what they want to do.
He committed to Davidson for basketball in October but says he knows he missed out on important things that come with an official visit.

“It definitely has had a big impact on me because I feel like that’s always a kid’s dream is the official visit,” Watson said. “They take you through everything. You get to experience the culture that they have at the school and what they believe in and what they do. You miss out on the relationships with your future teammates and with the coach.”

The recruiting dead period only applies to prospective Division I school, not Division II or Division III.

“My parents were NCAA athletes as well. They played at Bowling Green,” Smith said. “The first thing they told me about their recruiting process on their visits, as soon as they get onto campus, they have a gut feeling right here in their stomach. They know that’s the place they’re going to be ending up for the next four [years] and have relationships for the next 40 years. How are we supposed to do that? We can’t.”

The NCAA Division I Council met Wednesday to discuss the dead period and potentially ending it before April 15.

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