By Taylor Viles – 1851 Staff
Among the wave of changes COVID-19 has brought to the athletics’ world, is an issue that will be present for years to come across every collegiate athletics program. The NCAA has granted every spring athlete, regardless of class, another year of eligibility.
“It’s going to be a trickle-down effect,” said baseball head coach and alum Bill Uberti (‘14). “There’s going to be a lot of confusion in the next five years with building rosters.”
For the next four years, every spring collegiate athlete will have the option to choose whether or not they want to play one more season as a graduate student. “I have 13 [rising seniors]. Next year, I can’t depend on having 13 back [on the roster]. I can’t depend on having zero back…that’s how it’s gonna be for the next five years,” said Uberti.
As Uberti explained, this won’t affect the 2021 seasons roster as greatly because much of the recruiting had already been done as college coaches generally look at the junior high school season when recruiting.
“Obviously, it’s terrible for high school students to lose their senior year, but in my opinion, this affects the junior class way more,” said Uberti. “That sophomore to junior jump is a difference-maker in a ball player’s abilities and physical strength,” he said. “There are some examples of kids starting on varsity as sophomores, but it’s pretty rare at the high school level.”
While Uberti might not look at a player’s earlier years in high school, men’s lacrosse coach Bill Mason has been using those years as a resource. “You really have to go off of what you see and…make projections on where they’re going to be,” said Mason. “Maybe you talk to their high school coaches and they give an idea of the type of person they are.”
That’s not enough to judge a future player though. Human to human contact is one of the most important things for him when recruiting an athlete. “I like to walk a recruit around campus,” he said. “I like to see how they react to Lasell and look them in the eye and talk to them and get an idea of who they are as a person. If I can’t do that, then it’s going to be judging their character through the phone conversations we have.”
Men’s volleyball is a sport that deals with different circumstances when it comes to the COVID-19 situation. Like other spring sports, recruiting for next season is all but completed. But unlike the other sports, volleyball may have their situation a little easier because “very rarely do coaches actually go to high school [matches],” said head coach Jeff Vautrin. He explained, for volleyball, they mostly focus on play in the club circuits which “starts in October and goes all throughout the winter,” he said.