Thursday news

Good Thursday morning. We have some news from the college recruiting front for you on this Thursday, and it’s not good news for Mount Si and Cedarcrest High School senior athletes-to-be looking to play college sports in the fall of 2021.

The NCAA last night announced it had extended its current in-person ban on recruiting, announced back in March in the wake of the COVID-19 disease outbreak, to June 30. It had been set to expire May 31. The college sports governing body also announced that they will review things in two weeks to determine whether another extension is warranted, and that appears likely as the situation has not eased enough in most areas of the country to allow for college campuses to reopen and allow for visits by recruits to see coaches. Additionally, news this week out of California which we will discuss below also will impact the decisionmaking process for the association moving forward.

The extended ban means that coaches will not be permitted to attend any June summer hoops tournaments, such as the Section 7 event in Phoenix, the one Mount Si High School’s boys’ basketball team attended last year. Additionally, on-campus visits by prospective recruits, including Wildcat football players Clay Millen and Andrew Edson, both of whom are being heavily recruited by colleges, are now further on hold and could be on hold all summer.

How California will influence the decisions of the NCAA: Earlier this week, the California State University system announced a cancellation of all in-person instruction through their fall semester, and in response, the NCAA Division II California Collegiate Athletic Association, whose league comprises 12 of those Cal State institutions from Humboldt State University in Arcata to the north down to Cal State Dominguez Hills in the Los Angeles suburbs to the south, canceled all fall sports play, covering the sports of volleyball, men’s and women’s soccer and cross country. The cancellations directly impact one Valley athlete – Mateo DiDomenico, from North Bend and who would have been a sophomore this fall for the men’s soccer team at Cal State East Bay. This also could impact other Division II leagues up and down the West Coast as they all play non-conference games with teams from the CCAA.

Additionally, there is a belief that the University of California system, including Cal-Berkeley and UCLA, could also follow a similar model this fall. So with big California campuses shutting down, and potentially other states following suit down the road, the NCAA may not deem it safe or equitable to resume the on-campus activities until such time as all campuses are in a position to be open. Those are decisions that could be made as soon as two weeks from now when the association will meet again to discuss this.

There was no announcement from the conference regarding athlete eligibility for the fall athletes, except to say they would work to preserve opportunities for conference athletes and member schools to participate in national championship tournaments, which are likely to continue as normal if other leagues are in operation this fall. If that is the case, the conference would likely have to be the one to grant the additional eligibility for those athletes similar to what the NCAA did in the spring. It will be interesting to keep an eye on the transfer portal in the coming days as many CCAA athletes, perhaps fearing losing that year of eligibility in fall sports, could choose to get out and take their talents elsewhere.

We tried to reach DiDomenico for comment via social media yesterday and did not get a response.

To other news now:

Millen among the best high school QB’s in the country according to one website
A national high school football website that primarily covers quarterbacks yesterday named Mount Si senior-to-be Millen as one of the top players at his position in the United States. ranked Millen 14th in their top 200 list for incoming senior high school quarterbacks who possess “pro-style” skill sets. Millen is the top ranked Washington quarterback of several that are listed in the national list. As we just noted in our story above, Millen is being heavily recruited by NCAA Division I schools, with Indiana University the most recent school to make a scholarship offer, that coming last week.

It is unclear how the extended in-person recruiting ban will impact Millen’s recruitment; many of his offers have been made via electronic means, so schools are still able to make scholarship offers despite the ban.

USA Volleyball announces plan for return of youth volleyball
USA Volleyball, the national sanctioning body for youth club volleyball in the United States, has announced measures designed to help allow the sport to resume operations while complying with strict local, state and national regulations addressing the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

The measures, which you can see here, include such things as strict social distancing, frequent handwashing, and sanitizing of volleyballs and other equipment, and use of face coverings while on site. Additionally, the organization is also asking for participants to maintain a list of those they come in contact with while competing or practicing, in an effort to support contact tracing.

It is not clear if these regulations will be enough for Washington Governor Jay Inslee and health authorities to allow for reopening of Washington-based club facilities, such as those owned by Sudden Impact in Bellevue or the Washington Volleyball Academy in Lynnwood. Youth sports, such as volleyball, are expected to be part of a phase three reopening under the state’s recently enacted economic re-opening plan. Phase three is not expected to be reached until sometime in late June or early July, but there are four lawsuits as you know currently pending at both state and federal courts against Inslee’s Washington stay at home order which could impact this greatly. As we have noted in the past, youth sports parents, regardless of their opinions on the lawsuits and the order in general, should monitor developments on all four lawsuits as the resolution of those complaints will influence the restart time for volleyball and other youth sports.

Rhett Workman

About Rhett Workman

Rhett Workman is the editor of the Snoqualmie Valley Sports Journal. Workman is a veteran sports journalist, having covered Snoqualmie Valley sports for nearly a decade with the Snoqualmie Valley Record newspaper before starting up the SVSJ. Workman's coverage has earned the support and respect of Valley coaches, players, parents and fans, and the SVSJ continues the standard of coverage that Workman brought to the Valley Record.
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