NC High School Athletes Find Both Uncertainty and Help in COVID-19

NC High School Athletes Find Both Uncertainty and Help in COVID-19

Coronavirus has undoubtedly brought uncertainty to our lives in North Carolina, and student athletes haven’t been spared. With fall sports entirely canceled in most places, and no definitive answers for winter and spring sports, high school athletes now have many questions about the future of their athletic careers.

Many rising high school seniors still hope to gain notice from college coaches. That way, their names will earn notice in the coming months.

One high school athlete explains the general dilemma.

Nick Klipstein, a North Carolina senior at Asheville School, wants to play basketball in college, despite the challenges from COVID-19. “The virus has and will affect the progress made with schools at the next level,” he said. “Because the outbreak is limiting AAU and other games to be played, it is harder to get updated film out to coaches and show them how you have improved over these last couple months.”

He added, “[COVID-19] just forces coaches to look at your profile from what you were this year, and not what you are now and what you could be. A lot of athletes rely on this summer especially to make a push at schools.” In order to stay in good standings with potential schools, Klipstein has upped his own communications. “You have to stay in touch with them, and sort of show your interest over the phone and through email.”

Companies like Phenom Hoops are stepping up to help student athletes.

Phenom Hoops employee, Miles Masercola, helps provide exposure to high school players by broadcasting their games and writing their evaluations. He says that Phenom Hoops “plan[s] more alternative avenues for kids to play this fall/winter without a high school association if the season were to be delayed/canceled.” As Phenom Sports’ activities begin, Masercola stressed the importance of safety during these events such as proper sanitation (which its site lays out in detail).

He explains how “regular” high school student athletes may find their opportunities for evaluation limited, if the regular season doesn’t happen. Phenom Hoops events might ease that loss with some exposure. But at the end of the day, Miles says, “it falls on the shoulders of the player to find alternative ways to get their work in.”

For many student athletes, potential cancellation of their seasons presents a grave prospect. Nick Kilpstein, however, may be in a better position. Why? He attends an independent prep school. “We play other similar [independent] schools,” he reasons, “and we all have a much better chance of reopening.”

This theory seems likely – the Charlotte Observer recently reported that North Carolina independent schools will hold fall sports season. Independent schools don’t contend with the same state guidelines as schools within the North Carolina public systems. This unfortunate difference still leaves most high school athletes in the cold. Plenty of athletes hopeful for college recruitment attend public schools. 

For more sports updates around NC (including the economic impact of cancelling sports) visit North Carolina News Daily.

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