SIUE’s recruiting processes will be more challenging for the coaches now that the Ohio Valley Conference has enforced a travel ban due to the pandemic.
The OVC has canceled its season, with more conferences following suit.
“You have to trust the people that are in the trenches, those doctors and healthcare professionals. I think it’s the right thing to do and it’s the tough thing to do,” Athletic Director Tim Hall said.
While some sports were in season or beginning their seasons, like softball and volleyball, SIUE’s basketball program was in the middle of their offseason, which marks the peak of the recruitment season.
Basketball head coach Brian Barone’s normal recruiting style includes communicating through text messages and going to see players in state tournaments, practices and workouts, ultimately leading up to an on-campus tour of the facility.
“You either go see kids right now or you’ll have kids come to campus,” Barone said. “At the end of the year, their season is done, our season is done, let’s meet mid-April or the end of March, and we will do official visits.”
With the travel system suspended, every sport has had to adapt their recruitment processes. Barone was in the middle of a recruitment trip when he heard that the Ohio Valley Conference had suspended any and all athletic functions until further notice. For the time being, these coaches will have to rely primarily on FaceTime and Skype calls to win over recruits, and that poses some problems, according to Barone. Without the benefit of seeing someone in person, the coaches can’t always be sure that they are the right fit for the program.
“You want to sit down with somebody, look them in the eye, interact with them and get a feel for who they are. That‘s why the official visits and home visits are so vital,” Barone said.
The look of a campus can make or break a recruit, according to Barone. For senior Abby Marlow, who plays third base on SIUE’s softball team, visiting campus and meeting future teammates was what won her over.
“For me it was once I got to see the campus, the facilities they had were outstanding. The culture and the atmosphere once I met the players really hooked me,” Marlow said.
The Alestle will continue to update as further OVC decisions arise.