COVID-19 Will Cost Students The Scholarships They Deserve


“Soccer goal” by ewiemann is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Daisy Koffler

COVID-19 has undeniably impacted the education and sports systems in the United States. Students all across the country are learning remotely and participating in classes with teachers and peers via Zoom. In addition to the rapid changes in the way that academic classes are administered, COVID-19 has minimized the freedoms for extracurricular activities to occur, including clubs and high school sports teams. For all students that love activities outside of their required courses, limitations on extracurriculars are disappointing. For student athletes looking to get recruited, postponements and organizational changes in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) for COVID-19 are devastating. 

In September, the NCAA officially suspended all in-person recruitment  for Division I sports through January 1st. For aspiring athletes, this mandate significantly changes the typical recruitment process in the NCAA. Now, many students are afraid that they will never get the opportunity to showcase their abilities to coaches during games. Emily Kaplan, an eleventh grade student at WESS, has been playing tennis for ten years. Emily reports that she wants to play tennis either Division I or II in college because that would earn her a scholarship. “Right now I am emailing college coaches and updating my NCAA profile and playing lots of tournaments to improve my ranking,” Emily said when asked what she’s doing right now in regards to recruiting. 

 NBC News reported on the ways season cancelations have left unknown futures for high schoolers, citing a student’s experience losing all prospects of scholarships due to the suspension of in-person recruitment. When he never got to show his performance in baseball games, no scholarships were ever offered to this highly deserving player. For many student athletes, scholarships are the only way they can pay college tuitions. The NCAA reports that 180,000 students use athletic scholarships every year to help cover the cost of tuition. The limited recruitment process for COVID-19 has jeopardized thousands of students’ chances to attend college through scholarship awards. 

Alexandra Capello, the cross country and track coach at WESS, shared with me her recruitment process that led her to run Division I at Manhattan College. Alexandra said, “I knew that I always wanted to run in college and that utilizing what I love to do for an opportunity at a scholarship would be a win-win. At the end of my junior year/beginning of my senior year I started to reach out to coaches at the colleges I was interested in. My focus was heavily on Division I schools because it was always a dream of mine to run competitively in the NCAA. If the coaches thought my times were at the potential level for recruitment and scholarship, I would be invited for an overnight stay with the team.” On these overnights, she got to experience a “day in the life of a D1 athlete.” 

Alexandra went on to run for the Manhattan Jaspers cross country and track team, liking both the athletic and academic opportunities the school offered. She concluded the interview with, “the one thing I would preach is for athletes to put more into training now because in a time that challenges us we should challenge ourselves even more.” 

Alexandra’s recruitment experience aligns with that of many other student athletes in past years; for eleventh grader Pilar Gomes, her route to a college team will look much different. Pilar Gomes has been playing soccer with Manhattan Soccer Club for years. She hopes to run Division III in college, and recognizes that her performance in games right now is crucial. During her interview, Pilar explained the ways that her team has responded to the COVID-19 regulations in sports. She revealed that games are filmed and then sent out to scouts and colleges to see the players. Her moments captured in the recordings are vital to scouting. Additionally, Pilar remarked that tournaments feel very different now that scouts don’t go to them.

Although technology can aid in the loss of in-person scouting and recruitment, hundreds of student athletes feel their futures are jeopardized by these adjustments. The Public School Athletic League, or PSAL, was delayed for NYC students until further notice. Hopefully there will be positive news from them come Spring for the kids eager to return to playing. For guidance on COVID-19 recruitment, visit the Next College Student Athlete, or the NCSA, to start a free account and find more information. Best of luck to all the high school athletes currently going through this year’s recruitment process! – suspension of in person recruiting for high school athletes questions families are asking about the recruitment process in covid – how pandemic is affecting kids who want scholarships for sports abt the uncertainty of recruiting in covid for athletes – PSAL delays