The Struggles of 2021 Athletes


The Rangeview basketball team prepares for a shortened basketball season. (via FOX 31 Denver)

Jayden Foster, Sports Writer

I think that we can all agree that the year 2020 was not a good year for anyone at all. But, when specifically talking about COVID-19, it interfered with tons of things such as athletics. In most cases sports have been postponed, shortened, or even cancelled. High school athletes have been robbed of their season and all of the time and effort they have been putting into their sport. Then, they find out this season won’t be the same as the last previous years. The Next student college athletes website begins telling athletes around the world what happens next and how we will continue. “It’s a confusing and challenging time to be a student-athlete, especially for those who have dreams of competing at the college level. Official recruiting visits, tournaments and college camps remain on a long list of cancellations and postponements.” 

No crowd, no fans, mask up, limited people even just between players, are all things that athletes are dealing with this year and who knows for how long! What really needs to be talked about is how much exposure these high schools athletes have lost. College coaches won’t be allowed to see them play in games they will only see highlights. Seniors that want to play sports in college have been challenged this year due to the fact that coaches can not come to games. When asking Jeffrey Afriyie, Rangeview’s running back, on how college coaches may recruit this year and what this year’s seniors can expect, he said, “I feel like colleges have already made up their mind on who they were going to recruit based off of last year, and it’s not fair because a lot of players worked hard and probably got better but it won’t matter because all colleges have their prospects”, Jeffrey stated.

Throughout these hard times for athletes the NCAA is trying their best to make it a bit easier for the recruiting of athletes. “In anticipation of the impacts COVID-19 will continue to have on college sports, on October 15, the NCAA Division 1 committee agreed to grant winter sport student-athletes who compete during the 2020-21 season an extra year of eligibility and an additional year to complete their eligibility”,this is another option for players to get recruited according to the Next Student College Athlete website. So basically Traditionally, a student-athlete has 5 years to play 4 years of their sport. An extra year means a current college student-athlete would have 6 years to play their 4 years. This means, NCAA student-athletes can compete in all or a portion of the 2020-21 season, but it won’t be counted against their years of eligibility depending on their division level specific eligibility rules. This may be a great option for those who want to prove themselves and get the best opportunities that they can. However, because of the number of college athletes playing an extra year, it is becoming more and more difficult for the 2021 high school seniors to find spots in college programs.

Class of 2021 athletes have tons of stuff to figure out in a short amount of time. They must figure out if they want to continue playing their sport because of the very little amount of recruiting that they didn’t get, and if they want to, where. It’s very sad because some people in the 2021 class had a chip on their shoulder. They worked so hard for months and they don’t really get much out of it. College coaches should definitely keep an eye out and maybe work around their original plans because if these college coaches don’t open their eyes, they will be missing out on tons of great athletes!