By Taylor Renkema
The lack of high school sports this year seems to be rubbing salt in the wound for Loyalist College athletic recruiters.
Loyalist’s Athletic Director Jim Buck said recruiting dozens of athletes to a small community college is hard enough, and not having high school sports has a huge impact on the college’s athletic recruiting process.
“Our main source of recruiting is high school sports, we go to tournaments, we host tournaments,” he said. “We go to COSSA’s and OFSSAA championships and things like that. Without them, we’re kind of lost.”
Boycotting extra-curricular activities- including sports- is one action teachers are taking in protest of Bill 115.
Men’s high school volleyball teams got their season in before the boycott began, but women’s volleyball and men and women’s basketball were not as lucky.
Loyalist’s men’s volleyball coach Dave Templar said the lack of sports is taking a toll on high school athletes.
“I’ve heard some severe disappointment because there are basketball players hoping to get noticed and get recruited and that opportunity isn’t there anymore,” he said.
Templar said even if sports come back this semester, the damage is already done.
“You have to get most of the recruiting done before Christmas, because by the time college seasons are finished, a lot of the athletes have already applied to schools they’re interested in,” he said.
It’s a financial problem too— students hoping for athletic scholarships may not get them.
Buck said the college has anywhere from 4-6 athletes on each team who receive scholarships.
And the athletes themselves aren’t easy to find.
“There’s only a small number of kids locally that are good enough to play at this level,” Buck said. “We aren’t like a big city like Ottawa, Hamilton, London or the GTA where you can just rely on local kids.”
Templar said there’s also a lot of crossover for high school athletes.
“Sometimes a student is hoping to get recruited for basketball, but he’ll play volleyball or soccer as well because he’s athletic and he’s just filling a role and keeping in shape,” he said.
Templar also said the competition between colleges and universities makes recruiting even harder. On average there are 20 colleges and 14 universities looking for athletes in the same sports.
“We all want the same type of athlete, the high-quality player,” he said. “But academically, we look at completely different kids.”