There is still a lot up in the air right now and while I don't think I have anything necessarily definitive, I do think these are some potential issues or items that are relevant and will need some consideration moving forward.
National Qualifiers seem to be a huge questions mark right now. Triple Crown seems to have a plan for the 2021 club season. With being they premier recruiting weekend in the country, I sure hope they are ready. Windy City has postponed their qualifier until some restrictions are loosened in Chicago. Colorado Crossroads sounds to be changing venues, but not official announcement has been made as of yet. I would expect lots of changes including, attendance, tournament format and cost. I would think many will begin to mirror what AAU's in Florida looked like. For more information on that you can check out the PRI Talk podcast interview I had with Hugh Hernesman. Smaller tournaments including regional matches will have some of the same issues I would imagine as the beginning of club volleyball season is at the height of the flu season. Spectators at these tournaments give clubs a piece of their revenue and so we have to consider the impact of possibly admitting fewer or 0 fans to some of the smaller venues.
While there are several conferences currently playing volleyball right now, the majority of schools are transitioning to playing their Championship Segment and the majority of their matches in the Spring. My biggest fear has been that between now and January there won't be a huge difference in where we are in regards to COVID. Whether or not that will create, forfeiture of matches, last second changes in schedules, restrictions in attendance or entire seasons being cancelled, I don't think anyone really knows that at this point. It is safe to say that what we are seeing right now with entire teams having to stay home and workouts even being stopped for weeks at a time will be a mirrored theme in the Spring as well.
While some are still surprised that the NCAA extended the D1 Dead Period until the end of the year, I have been saying (to anyone that would listen) that this was going to happen prior to the June 15th phone calls with the 2022 class. The fact that this situation was not planned for has been slightly frustrating for me on my end. The "hope" that the Dead Period would get lifted sooner didn't stop coaches and athletes across the country from backpedaling on the idea of "waiting" or "making visits" to campus. 24 hour limits on verbal offers and athletes squeezing in their commitment prior to the new eligibility legislation that gave all current college athletes an extra year of eligibility certainly gives new meaning to the terms "waiting" and "slowing things down" in the recruiting world. Not every coach or athlete is in the same hurry though and they have good reasons. Could all of these commitments without visits lead to more decommitments in the Spring? I think that is an entirely possible scenario. Many on both sides of this process are willing to wait to make the right decision instead of rushing into a decision. Every athletes makes decisions based on any number of variables and certainly there are situations where an athlete had already attended a camp on campus and didn't need to visit again to know it was the right fit.
The other situation for many coaches and programs is that they will be having their regular season during the largest chunk of recruiting season. Leaving only 1 coach out recruiting or possibly 0 coaches out recruiting depending on the budget and available staffing. This I think can certainly account for many coaches wanting to move forward with the process regardless of how things went post-June 15th.
The new eligibility rules will certainly become clearer during the Spring recruiting season, which will help the 2022 and maybe even the 2021 classes. As more coaches figure out what their roster and budgets look like, they will be able to give more definitive answers to the questions being asked of them. Throw in now the idea that signing day will get pushed back to AFTER the dead period is lifted. Marking the Triple Crown tournament possibly as the biggest unsigned Senior event of the year!
While recruiting in the 2021 recruiting season might not quite be chaotic or even necessarily crazy, there will certainly be a LOT going on. Do what you can now to limit the chaos and craziness.
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