Coaches plan to adjust scouting processes amid pandemic


Courtesy of Kate Foultz

The season will consist of conference play only and official competitions will begin on March 13.

By Kayla Buck

Emerson coaches are taking a new approach to scouting this spring after high schools decided to cancel their sports seasons in light of the COVID-19 global pandemic.

The National Collegiate Athletic Association and New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference officially canceled all athletic activities across all divisions in March due to rising concerns over COVID-19. These decisions terminated seven of Emerson’s varsity sports’ seasons, including men’s and women’s lacrosse and tennis, as well as baseball, softball, and men’s volleyball. 

Head softball coach Phil McElroy asked recruits to prove athletic abilities in unconventional ways.

“We’ve been talking to the recruits about if they have an opportunity, just go into their backyard, put up a net, hit some balls, show us some of what they can do, and then evaluate from that,” McElroy said in a phone interview with The Beacon. 

Men’s lacrosse head coach Matt Colombini is taking a different approach to scouting junior recruits.

“The focus has really been to reach out to [high school and club] coaches and get recommendations on juniors that we haven’t seen yet or haven’t spoken to yet and to scour all of the online databases,” Colombini said in a phone interview with The Beacon.

Head baseball coach Nick Vennochi, along with Colombini and McElroy, stressed the importance of summer leagues and showcases. The coaches are hopeful these events will start in June and continue through August as planned. 

“For the juniors and sophomores that we talk to, it’s not a huge adjustment, but if over the summer there are no showcases, that will change a little bit about how we go about this thing,” Vennochi said in a phone interview with The Beacon. 

McElroy and Colombini said they are looking at how the possible summer cancellations will impact their fall schedules.

“I’m imagining, this fall, it’ll be a lot more seniors who are making decisions and still looking, so the emphasis will still be on finishing this upcoming class going into the fall,” Colombini said. 

Colombini said attacker Austin Franklin plans to return for the 2021 season as a fifth-year senior. Franklin made his decision before the NCAA’s eligibility adjustment on March 13th because he already qualified for an additional season.  

As of April 7, the baseball, softball, and men’s lacrosse teams have multiple commits for their 2024 classes, but they are working towards finalizing additional recruits. The coaches said any delays finalizing the class will be because of financial aid and tuition deposits, not COVID-19.