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A Struggle With Commitment: Athletes Getting Offers During A Pandemic

With many effects from the Coronavirus that many people have struggled to comply with on a day to day basis such as pure social interaction and not being able to attend exciting events, there has been a tremendous effect on the recruitment process of high school athletes trying to receive an offer to a college […]

With many effects from the Coronavirus that many people have struggled to comply with on a day to day basis such as pure social interaction and not being able to attend exciting events, there has been a tremendous effect on the recruitment process of high school athletes trying to receive an offer to a college to continue their sports career. This comes from the lack of allowance from state laws in California for players to participate in games of play and even training with one’s team.

Therefore, college recruiters are unable to contact these athletes in person and see what skills and personality traits they have to offer. This has an even deeper effect on opportunities for athletes who are trying to make their way out of a poor financial situation to be successful.

The recruitment process for athletes can be quite a long and difficult process to be able to contact coaches and build connections at a young age. Most athletes discover a training program to get them started on their pathway to achieving the main goal of playing college sports. However, in current times, it is hard for athletes to find time to be with their team and coaches.

Gabe Maya (’21) has recently verbally committed to the University of San Diego to continue his baseball career as a lefty pitcher for the Toreros.

“It was a very strange journey for me,” he says. “I had been in communication with the University of San Diego via e-mail for about six months before my commitment, and I was actually able to play on their campus back in September of 2019 and just before quarantine hit, I had met my dad’s high school catcher who was a head coach at a junior college and he had offered to reach out to some schools for me. He had recommended that I should be in contact with the pitching coach of USD, so I began to make phone calls and receive them back.

Gabe said it was relatively easy for him to contact coaches. However, he speaks on behalf of him and all high school baseball athletes about the change in the allowance to see coaches in person and receive a good opportunity to show the college coaching staff their skills.

“Unfortunately, since there are no games going on I was not able to have coaches contact me in person which was different before quarantine. I had to compromise and send videos of my pitching to Brock Ungricht, who is the recruiting coordinator at USD. Then, on Father’s Day this year, I had received my first offer and I took it immediately.”

After receiving his offer, Gabe took some advice from his coaches on what he should be doing during this time when there are no games for him to play in. Athletes unlike Gabe are faced with the hardship of staying committed to their craft to be in preparation to commit to a school, even with the lack of showcase events.

“What my coach told me was my main focus should be in the weight room and at the kitchen table trying to gain weight and get bigger faster and stronger. Usually at this time of year, baseball athletes go out to these showcases with every school in the nation watching them such as the Arizona Fall Classic and Perfect Game events, but all of that was canceled due to the Pandemic. However, I do not have to do that stuff because I am already committed. Unfortunately, athletes who have not been able to attend those are at a disadvantage of trying to commit to a school.”

Even though COVID-19 has many state laws preventing athletes from playing their sport, many states allow players to participate in showcases but with very strict rules such as wearing a mask and cutting the attendance of players in half.

However, athletes are still doing their best to get their work in and stay on their grind. Prior to the pandemic, players usually had the ability to receive offers from many schools because of the allowed social interaction that is now not normalized in this country. Therefore, an athlete may receive one offer and commit to that school right away because they may not get another shot at talking to another school.

“I was very blessed to receive an offer to a school I wanted to go to, but I think what’s crazy right now is during these times are a lot of players missing out on that recruitment aspect and they are kind of having to settle for whatever offer comes first,” Gabe says. “I know some guys who were really relying on this summer because that’s when most guys commit. What really matters is what school you can get in contact with first and what your first offer is because that might be your only offer. The schools can’t see a lot of guys, so they have to settle for what they get. It’s a pretty crazy time for us ball players, as we are not at our normal lines of playing time.”

In brief, this current time in the world has affected many people in many different ways. The effects on athletes is a very mental and physical hardship for them to be able to continue chasing their dream. When times like this happen, athletes don’t quit — they compromise and do whatever they can to be successful.

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