Athletes “SeaKing” Recruitment Amidst COVID

Alexa Dox, Reporter

Senior Peyton Eberhard, a member of the girls’ varsity soccer team, has first-hand experience regarding the impact COVID-19 has had on recruiting. Eberhard shared that many steps of the typical recruitment process changed as a result of the pandemic. Most athletes were told much about the process in prior years but when the pandemic hit, athletes had to adapt to a new process. 

For example, instead of having in-person visits by college coaches, most of the recruiting and discussions were done online. 

“I imagined I would be going to [ID] camps, showcases, tournaments and more,” Eberhard said. “But instead, I am emailing coaches and making highlight reels in hopes of finding a college that will be a good match for me.” 

While the recruiting process did change, that change did not necessarily have a negative impact overall for Eberhard. 

“Quite honestly, I don’t think I can say if I think the results would be different or better if it was a normal year because so many things have changed throughout the course of seven months,” Eberhard said. 

Another athlete impacted was junior Jamie Robertson, a member of the boys’ varsity baseball team who has recently committed to Loyola Marymount University (LMU). 

COVID-19 stopped all baseball games in March ending the season for the school team and ending the possibility of being viewed by scouts. To continue training, he spent the summer training locally and used his time to further develop his game both on the field and in the weight room. Robertson noted the recruiting process was unique given the restrictions the NCAA placed on in-person recruiting. 

“I was told different things on how recruiting would happen and I was worried about making the wrong decision,” said Robertson. 

Prospective athletes like him weren’t allowed to go on college campuses and see the different cultures that schools offered. Robertson is fortunate to live close to LMU which helped him learn more about the community and the school’s offerings. 

“I’m not a huge believer in ‘what ifs’ and I’m not sure how recruiting would have gone in a normal scenario, but I’m really happy with the way everything turned out,” Robertson said. “I am ecstatic to attend LMU and wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.” 

Sophomore Garren Rizzo recently committed to the University of San Diego (USD) for baseball. Rizzo is an example of younger athletes colleges have been recruiting in order to get a leg-up on the process. 

Rizzo shared that the recruiting process was actually very long for him. 

“When l I finally decided to commit to the University of San Diego, I was getting recruited by multiple schools for about eight months and when [COVID-19] hit, it all remained the same,” said Rizzo. “I was out playing baseball weekly and they continued to follow me and check me out amongst that time.” 

Rizzo feels COVID-19 had a positive impact on his athletics. 

“My goal for when the pandemic hit was to add 15 pounds of muscle to my body and I achieved that,” Rizzo said. He feels the downtime from the pandemic helped him take his game to a next level. After months of the recruiting process, Rizzo is excited about furthering his career at USD.