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How Covid Destroyed the Hopes of Aspiring College Athletes

Covid affected many different people in many different ways. However, when looking at college athletes, some feel like they’ve wasted four years of their life.

The COVID-19 pandemic hit every student hard during the 2020-2021 school year and substantially affected some students more than others. College athletes were left without what they might call a purpose after sports shut down. The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) compensated affected athletes by giving them an extra year of athletic eligibility. However, this was only the saving grace for some students.

For many students in their senior year of high school, this meant that they were unable to showcase their skills to recruiters and scouts from some of their dream schools. This would severely hurt their chances of a scholarship or possible financial aid they might receive.

In an interview with CNBC, Devin Schoenberger of the Redondo High School Men’s Soccer Team said, “We don’t know what other opportunities we’re going to have, and a lot of us aren’t committed yet.” This is heartbreaking for some students who could not meet with scouts and recruiters, especially after the NCAA implemented their extra-year eligibility.

This extra year rule meant that students could play an additional year in college, which, in turn, hurt incoming players, as it meant that the seniors who could have been moved to drafts or signed to contracts alternatively were made to stay an extra year at school to play sports.

This meant new incoming players had to fight even harder for a spot, which wouldn’t have been the case in a future year. College coaches also had a tough decision to make now, moving in new players on scholarships or continuing to let their seniors play for an extra year, as they couldn’t have both.

Coaches were left feeling guilty as they had an abundance of players, were unable to bring in new students, and were, of course, going to continue using players who had previously been successful.

According to the NCAA’s Recruiting Facts, around 370,000 players received some scholarship to play sports in the top three divisions of college competitions in 2021. The total of these scholarships is roughly $3.5 billion, with the average scholarship being around $18,000 for a division one athlete. These scholarships are what some students work for throughout their four years of high school and can be seen as their ticket to moving forward in life. So when Covid hit in 2020, many students struggled to make a plan.

The Covid-19 pandemic seriously threw a wrench in many plans for incoming college athletes in 2020 and 2021. People are still recovering from this, forced to move on from a dream they worked hard for. With a combination of the extra year being granted, students not being able to play, and some students unable to meet with possible future coaches; many high school athletes may remember 2020 as the year that ruined their chances of being college athletes.

Image Sources

  • Telescope Sports graphic: Trina McLeary | The Telescope | All Rights Reserved

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