There are major changes happening in recruiting right now.
Concerns over the spread of COVID-19, commonly known as the coronavirus, resulted in a wave of sports cancellations and suspensions in mid-March. What started with the cancellations of conference basketball tournaments grew to include the NCAA men's and women's tournaments and, in the Big Ten, all spring and winter sports.
Once individual schools started suspending recruiting activities the NCAA needed to step in to ensure there was a clear mandate. They did so on Friday afternoon.
🚨Dead Period Effective Immediately🚨
The NCAA has enacted a Dead Period for all sports at least until April 15th. No official and unofficial visits, contacts and evaluations during this time. Phone calls and text messages still permissible.
— Mizzou Compliance (@MIZcompliance) March 13, 2020
In-person recruiting has been paused but it doesn’t mean things are completely silent. Phone calls and text messages to recruits are still allowed. While everyone’s phones will be heating up a bit more, keeping those lines of communication open is key. For football recruiting, this new dead period has a big impact. Since the earliest it will end is April 15, two official visit weekends will be lost.
The Huskers did not have any known official visits for that weekend. Yet, the team would have surely used the opportunity. Nebraska hosted one April official visitor last year—Nash Hutmacher. The April 15 date (should things open back up then) is significant for Nebraska. If the Red-White Spring Game still happens as currently scheduled on April 18 the Huskers could use that as the first big recruiting weekend after things return to normal.
We are already seeing schools line up visitors for that weekend.
— “6iX” (@ChristianLeary4) March 13, 2020
Typically, April 15 is when the evaluation period opens. Meaning that’s when assistant coaches can go out on the road to evaluate prospects in person. Could that period be pushed back to June or July? Maybe, but then the on-campus camps like Friday Night Lights could be impacted.
There are still a lot of moving parts to iron out as alterations are made to the recruiting calendar. It will likely continue to be handled at the NCAA level. That is the correct decision, but they will need to continue taking clear actions. Communication with schools as early as possible will also be necessary.
We are just starting what could be big changes for the 2021 recruiting cycle.
Greg is the Recruiting Analyst for Hail Varsity and has covered Husker athletics since 2013. He has always had a passion for sports while growing up in the Chicago area. As he got older and had to hang up his cleats and sneakers, he realized his passion for sports went beyond just watching and attending games. He has covered many events from the Rose Bowl to championship boxing matches. If he’s not talking sports, he’s hovering over his grill. He is married to an amazing woman, Kim, and they have a dog that barks when Greg yells at the TV during games.