The Complex, Changing Field of Athletic Recruiting


Credit: Ellie Wolfe.

Sport recruits and recruiters have a different process to handle this year.

The Coronavirus pandemic has put a lot of sports at Williston, and elsewhere, in jeopardy. With so much uncertainty around when the virus will subside, college-bound athletes have a lot of questions about recruiting and what their future as student-athletes will look like.

Normally, interested colleges gather surveys and game film, and go to games to scout athletes. This year, however, in-person attendance at games, and maybe even film from games, may be a problem; the amount of games teams will play, if any, is still up in the air. 

Williston Football Coach Tommy Beaton is anticipating a scenario different from a typical year, in terms of bringing athletes from other schools to Williston.

“This coming year will be much more difficult recruiting players from an athletic perspective,” Beaton said. “There won’t be as much game tape to evaluate.” 

Despite this, he is still hopeful he can find the right recruits. 

“The character piece is always more important than the film, and this year that will never be more true,” Beaton said. “If we can enroll great young men that work hard, we will be in a great shape.” 

Coach Beaton anticipates a different, not worse, year for the Wildcats.  

“I think for Williston players it might actually be easier,” Beaton said.We will be able to get them film either in games or practice. They will get the exposure that they need.” 

Coach Talbot-Syfu also expects a different year for girl’s hockey recruits, but she too is hopeful.

“We have shifted our focus to providing students with a lot of information online,” Coach Talbot-Syfu said. “We did a really good job last spring and over the course of the summer, so I am hopeful we will be able to do it again!” 

Coach Talbot-Syfu is aware of the recruiting complexities brought on by Covid. 

“I think colleges are shifting their focus as we speak because of the changing landscape,” she said. Student-athletes will need to do a good job of communicating with colleges coaches.”