NCAA Dead Period Extension Should Be No Issue For Most Players
As the nation begins to re-awaken its economy, and municipalities and schools look to safely re-open athletic complexes to participants and spectators, the 2020 summer baseball season was dealt a significant blow yesterday afternoon.
The NCAA Division 1 Council Coordination Committee extended the recruiting dead period through July 31, meaning that Division 1 college coaches are unable to leave campus for recruiting activities (i.e games, showcases, camps).
This will, of course, put a hurting on the myriad of summer tournaments, showcases, etc. The loss of D1 college coaches attending these events will do damage, but it will primarily damage the marketing activities of these organizations and club team coaches.
Let’s be honest with each other here. For all the bells and whistles that go along with today’s summer travel baseball scene, the reality is that the percentage of players who actually have the skill set and academic profile to be actively recruited by NCAA D1 baseball programs is incredible low.
Nevertheless, travel teams and tournament organizers use the possibility of D1 coaches showing up at events to sell their product. While the top teams across the nation have rosters with many attractive D1 prospects, most of what we now call club or travel teams have rosters consisting of players who will profile best at D2, D3 and NAIA schools.
The reality of summer and fall baseball is that programs at the D2 , D3, NAIA level have little to no budget for recruiting travel. Quite simply, this is the reason you rarely see out of state colleges at these types of programs attending events in Arizona.
The good news? For most players, the fact that D1 colleges remain on Dead Period should have zero impact on their future baseball plans.
D2 schools are not on Dead Period. Instead, they are on Quiet Period through June 30, which still forbids them to attend games, tournaments and showcases off campus. However, D2 coaches are permitted to attend non-institutional camps off campus if they are on the payroll of the camp. Also, Quiet Period allows for on campus camps.
D3 schools have no recruiting restrictions due to Covid-19.
The plan of action for most players should consist of:
1. Maximize your development opportunities. Get stronger. Get faster. Work on arm strength. Clean up that swing.
2. Find the most appropriately competitive game play you can find. If nothing else comes out of this pandemic, I hope a return to game play with energy is an end result. Learning to compete and how to do the little things that win games is a skill that we have largely ignored for the last decade.
3. Develop an online profile. This should contain quality recruiting video. I like to see a skills videos (hitting , defense, pitching, running, etc) as well as game video highlights.
4. Communicate your information to appropriate schools. This is typically when the plan of action goes off the rails. The majority of players blindly send emails to the programs that they are familiar with. These are usually prominent D1 schools. As I mentioned above, the majority of you do not fit this mold. Getting an accurate assessment of your appropriate level of play at the next level is paramount, but it is typically the missing link.
5. Research camps that will have coaches at your level participating. If you decide to attend, make sure the appropriate coaches know that you will be attending and make sure they have your profile/video. This also goes for game play where coaches may be attending.
6. All of the above is based on the assumption that you are taking care of business in the classroom. If not, and your GPA is below a 3.0, you have greatly reduced the potential suitors for your services.
Many of you view the Arizona Junior College system as a fall back plan as a baseball destination. The reality is that this league is highly competitive, and many players simply do not profile into this conference.
Look, this is not rocket science. I’ve been working with baseball families for over 20 years. While the recruiting companies want you to believe that it is necessary to drop a few thousand dollars to get recruited, it simply is not the case. There are a ton of recruiting tools available for free on the web if you know where to look.
This spring I worked with four 2020 graduates that I knew nothing of prior to this year. They had no recruiting activity when we initially met. We built online profiles with video, and began reaching out to appropriate schools. Despite the abbreviated HS season, all four found homes at 4 year schools by communicating to schools that they were good fits for, and they did it at a fraction of the cost of the big services.
Again, please do not make this out to be more difficult than it is. Recruiting is a commonsense game. Unfortunately emotions get in the way and tend to derail things.
Coaches at all levels are looking for players. Make sure you know where you fit. Do your homework on programs regarding roster sizes, possible position needs etc. Attend events that make sense. Go where you can play and leave a legacy.
I learned at an early age to change the things that I can, and not dwell on the things that I cannot.
Never has this principle been more applicable than it is right now. The game has changed this summer, but it should not change your plan of attack.
As always, feel free to reach out with any questions regarding recruiting or amateur baseball in general.
See you at the yard,