Pandemic is forcing high school athletes to get creative when getting attention of recruiters

ATLANTA — The combination of an NCAA recruiting “dead period” and high school sports delays due to coronavirus has been a game changer for high school athletes with dreams of competing at the next level.

The Georgia State High School Association canceled spring sports back in April and the NCAA has limited opportunities for coaches to recruit through early 2021.

That combination has forced athletes to get creative when it comes to getting the attention of recruiters.

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Channel 2′s Michael Seiden spoke to some high school seniors who are trying some creative ways to attract the attention of college recruiters.

Seiden spoke to Macey Sipmann who plays volleyball at North Gwinnett High School. Sipmann is trying to earn a Division 1 scholarship.

“It’s insane, but we’re getting through it as best as we can," said Sipmann.

Sipmann is a senior, and is doing everything she can think of to catch a recruiters eye. She believes she’s on track to earn a Division 1 scholarship but is worried because of the NCAA’s dead period which keeps coaches from coming to see her play in person.

“I don’t have any offers right now, but I’m talking to seven or eight different colleges right now," said Sipmann.

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Sipmann and her parents decided to try a subscription based recruiting network to help her get noticed. They signed up with Next College Student Athlete (NCSA) which allows her to upload game highlights and connect with coaches all over the country.

“My dad films every game. I got on the website NCSA and helped me out a lot and my recruiting. There’s still schools out there that have scholarships, so it’s mainly keeping in touch with coaches and making sure you’re keeping up to date with what their process is looking like as well as yours," said Sipmann.

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Seiden spoke with former college basketball player and coach Dan Doyle who works as a recruiting coach and manager for NCSA and says its crucial for high school athletes to have some sort of digital presence. Doyle says it’s important to not only post game highlights but workouts too.

“So essentially you’re like a guidance counselor for high school athletes?” asked Seiden. “It’s a guidance counselor meets headhunter meets some days therapist (laugh )," says Doyle.

Delays and postponed seasons have been a boon to Doyle’s business.

“We’ve seen an uptick of about 20 percent more coaches using our network. I have seen coaches FaceTime with recruits and walk them around campus and give them a self guided virtual tour. I’ve even seen a coach be in one car and a recruit was behind him. They’re not allowed to have face to face contact but he’s called them and they’re face timing and driving around the campus giving him a self guided tour," said Doyle.

Over the past two decades, Doyle says NCSA has helped over 100,000 athletes get college commitments. He says at every level, the coaches have adjusted to and embraced the new normal in a pandemic.

“I think when everything gets back to normal and games are happening, coaches are really going to see the kids who took care of business and invested in themselves," said Doyle.