With the ongoing pandemic, the recruiting process has been altered to Zoom meetings, more outreach and watching film.
Athletic Director Matt Franzen explained the usual recruitment process.
“The normal recruiting process entails lots of outreach - face to face meetings, emails, phone calls, text messages and social media contact,” Franzen said. “We also invite all recruits to campus for a campus visit.”
Head Baseball Coach Josh Oltmans explained the recruitment process for baseball in usual circumstances compared to now that games have been put on hold.
“We typically watch someone play, or they are referred to us by someone. We have looked at videos, invited them to campus for a workout or went and watched a game,” Oltmans said. “During this time we try to build a relationship with the prospective student.”
Since there are no longer any games to watch to evaluate players due to the COVID-19 outbreak coaches have had to do their talent evaluation based on videos and words of other coaches.
Jennifer Kennedy-Croft, head women’s soccer coach, said while many athletes have already committed to Doane sports teams, the change in the recruiting process still affects a lot.
“While most of the 2020 athletes are already committed, it is important to be able to see players that are uncommitted and also the 2021 and 2022 student-athletes,” Kennedy-Croft said.
Kennedy-Croft has already experienced direct changes because of the new social distancing protocols.
“For me it has already affected my ability to go watch potential Doane student-athletes. I was scheduled to go to Vegas for a tournament and all the state high school games,” Kennedy-Croft said.
Kennedy-Croft said that the incoming class of student-athletes will no longer be able to visit the campus personally, which could have an effect on how many students choose Doane.
“Our campus and community are great selling points to potential recruits. It is unfortunate they cannot come on campus, meet the professors, student-athletes and Doane community to get a better idea of what we have to offer,” Kennedy-Croft said.
Franzen also mentioned how students would no longer be able to come visit campus in person for the remainder of the semester.
“The thing that has changed with our COVID-19 situation and many staff working remotely is that our recruit visits now take place via Zoom, just like the classes do,” Franzen said. “Fortunately, a good amount of our recruits have visited campus already.”
Oltmans said they will not be doing any more signings as of now and is unsure how the number of recruits will be affected by the changes.
“Only time will tell,” Oltmans said. “Initially, I thought it may hurt things, but in baseball we’ve seen an increase in movement on the recruiting side of things.”
Franzen noted the challenges of the new COVID-19 process, but also pointed out that all colleges are experiencing similar issues.
“It definitely presents new challenges when trying to sell our school and our programs,” Franzen said. “But we are in the same situation as every other college or university in the country with this challenge.”
Kennedy-Croft has hope for the future of Doane’s sports.
“It is a time for all of us to pull together and in the big scheme of things this is just a minor speed bump in the road,” Kennedy-Croft said. “So as long as we stay together and do what the health officials are asking, I am confident we will be back to recruiting, playing, and classes in the coming months.”