Alexandria Ibarra, Sports Editor
California Lutheran University athletics recruiting processes look a little different this year.
Recruiting Coordinator for the Kingsmen Football team, James Emma, said he typically hosts students on campus during the fall to experience a home football game and to familiarize the potential Kingsmen with the stadium.
“It’s a beautiful stadium, it’s awesome to have the support of the university, so that’s something we really wanna showcase,” Emma said.
The pandemic, however, has made it impossible for recruiters to meet athletes face-to-face, and most teams have turned to virtual campus tours and athlete evaluations.
“We were not able to get on-campus [visits] in the spring,” Emma said. “We weren’t able to sit down with counselors and teachers and lunch ladies to talk about these guys. We’ve had to work a lot more behind the scenes.”
The Kingsmen Volleyball team is also feeling distant from their team’s prospects.
“That’s one thing that’s a little difficult right now, is that I don’t get to have the kids on campus,” Kingsmen Volleyball Head Coach Kevin Judd said, “But I do have more than enough kids still interested in Cal Lutheran.”
Although social-distancing guidelines are limiting on-campus visits, face-to-face recruiting meetings are still taking place, via Zoom.
“In the spring semester, I was on at least 200 Zooms,” Emma said.
Regals Lacrosse Head Coach Laura McIntyre said she has also adjusted to virtual recruiting.
“Normally summer for me is a time where I go to a ton of different events and actually get to evaluate student athletes live,” McIntyre said. “So that’s been a big difference this year is that everything is really being done, evaluations-wise, virtually.”
McIntyre and some other coaches at Cal Lutheran have offered prospective students the opportunity to engage with panels of coaches and student-athletes from their respective sports, that are designed to address questions and concerns of new recruits.
“So I’m getting tons of backyard practice video,” McIntyre said. “I was able to do a Zoom meeting with some recruits that all came in, and then had a few of the girls on the team come in and answer questions for those potential student athletes.”
McIntyre said the panels have been helpful for new recruits to get a sense of what it’s like being on campus, especially being online.
She added that this year has been more stressful than years past because incoming athletes are nervous about not being able to meet their future teammates and coaches in person.
“We’ve all felt the repercussions of the pandemic,” Emma said. “But the school has done a great job to say we don’t want to put anybody in danger.”