photo contributed by Grace Hammond
The college recruitment process is different for everyone—it could take anywhere from a few weeks to several months. Athletes constantly send emails, talk to coaches and tour campuses, trying to find an athletic program and school that fits their needs. However, that process has changed due to COVID restrictions.
Senior Grace Hammond recently committed to play Division I volleyball at the University of Rhode Island. The NCAA implemented a dead period because of the pandemic, so official visits weren’t allowed.
“I had to fly myself up there,” Hammond said. “We had to pay for everything, and I had to get tested to make sure I was COVID-free. I wasn’t allowed to meet with any coaches or any players or go inside any buildings.”
Hammond found her decision difficult but was ultimately drawn to URI’s program.
“Everybody on staff really cared about me as a person and a player,” Hammond said. “I always looked forward to talking to the coaches again. I’m going to be a redshirt, and (being able to get that extra year of eligibility) was really appealing.”
For senior Riley McCall, her recruitment process was very different. McCall committed to play Division III lacrosse at North Greenville University, joining fellow senior Katie Keller.
McCall wasn’t able to go on an official visit or stay overnight with the team due to COVID restrictions. However, the coach gave her a personal tour of the campus.
“It’s a really pretty campus (with) all these pretty mountain views,” McCall said. “It felt like a breath of fresh air.”
Due to the pandemic shutting down sports earlier in March, McCall didn’t have any film for coaches.
“All they saw was my height and GPA,” McCall said. “(Coaches) would talk to me on the phone, and they would give me drills and stuff like that to film, so they could see a little bit (of how I play).”
Even though both athletes’ experiences were different, they both expressed similar tips for those wanting to begin the recruiting process during the pandemic.
“I would definitely recommend sending out as many emails as possible and get video to the coaches,” Hammond said.