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How the Coronavirus Pandemic is Affecting Recruiting

It’s officially dead period until the NCAA says otherwise.



Spring is the most fruitful time of the year in recruiting for many programs, particularly in football. It’s where Mike Gundy often blossoms his classes like the seasonal flowers and where long-time targets turn to building blocks of the class.

That strategy, however — like the rest of the sports world — may be shifting. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the NCAA has instituted a dead period for in-person recruiting through at least April 15, effective immediately. On the official NCAA calendar through that date was scheduled to be the quiet period.

The difference: the dead period forfeits any and all opportunities for face-to-face contact between coaches and prospective athletes and their parents. (In other words, the mullet can’t hit the interstate to close deals in person.) The quiet period bans face-to-face contact outside the college campus, but prospective student-athletes can visit campuses and meet with coaches in that capacity.

It’s a minor difference, but no doubt a big one. Zero face-to-face time means the coaching staff is restricted to snap-facing and insta-booking and face-tik-toking. It’s good interaction, I’m sure, but not necessarily conducive to closing recruiting deals and getting commitments.

That’s a bummer for OSU football in particular because the 2021 class right now is barren. OSU has just one commitment to date — from outside linebacker Kolbe Fields — and he’s still getting plenty of interest elsewhere. Among all 10 Big 12 schools (lol), OSU ranks 10th in the recruiting rankings with the least amount of commitments. Texas leads the way with six and two — Texas Tech and TCU — have the second-fewest, with two.

Fortunately, everyone is now on the same playing field. Texas may still be leading the class, but its staff can’t conduct face-to-face recruiting visits, either, just like Nick Saban or Dabo Swinney can’t. It’s the world we live in right now.

So what’s next? That’s a difficult question to answer given what we know (and what we don’t) about the virus. As of now, the schedule is as follows: now until April 15 is a dead period. April 15 through May 31 is an evaluation period. That’s followed by a quiet period throughout much of the next two months.

That, of course, hinges upon everything in the public health spectrum being cleaned up. Will small recruiting gatherings be allowed? Will spring sports resume at all? Right now the NBA is prepared to continue its hiatus for the next three months, and the president this week suggested gatherings of 10 or more people is unsafe.

Ten or more is essentially a coaching staff. That doesn’t include players, their families, coaches. We could be in limbo for awhile. So for OSU, the recruiting calendar continues to move forward … with major restrictions that could impact the growth of the class and overall success of who it gets — and who it doesn’t.

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