As COVID-19 continues to make its impacts on the sports world, it’s being felt at all levels. From professional, to college, even down to high school athletics, athletes are asking questions on the fate of their careers and seasons.
For some Nebraska high schools, the pandemic resulted in a virtual start and no athletics to start the year. For other schools, sports are limited, coming with restrictions and guidelines.
In early August, the Nebraska Schools Activities Association released its plan for the fall seasons amid the pandemic.
Including restricting attendance, limiting or eliminating interactions, encouraging spectators to wear face coverings, as well as other specifics to the way the games run.
These changes at the high school level are leaving impacts on college sports, particularly when it comes to recruiting.
“Our huge recruiting season is the spring, and that got shut down in March,” head women’s volleyball coach Kirsten Bernthal Booth said. “We would also be doing some recruiting right now.”
The setbacks were apparent over the summer, as well, across all athletics. A typically popular season for camps and high school players’ exposure to college, this summer saw none of that.
Although a difficult situation, Booth still sees potential in the program’s current recruiting efforts, but finds concerns regarding the future decisions from high school athletes.
“We feel like our recruiting has fortunately been OK because of some prior relationships that we have built with some kids and some evaluations,” Booth said. “But I don’t want a sophomore in high school or a junior in high school to rush into a decision without seeing an institution, and I think that’s happening a lot around the country right now, and I think that’s going to lead to future transfers.”
As for the season that lies ahead, she remains optimistic with the group she has despite the disappointment of not playing this fall.
“We knew that was coming for a long time, so it didn’t side swipe us, of course we are disappointed,” Booth said. “I’m so fortunate to coach just really outstanding, motivated young women.”