Big news for the private travel industry and Division 1 college sports recruiting this week as speculation continues to circulate that the NCAA will finally lift the “dead period” that has been in effect since March 13, 2020.
The dead period faces its ninth extension in 13 months. But hope abounds that the NCAA committee’s recommendation to the D1 Council to lift the freeze by June 1, 2021 will prove successful. Should the dead period be lifted, recruiting will likely enter a “quiet period,” allowing for on-campus in-person recruiting and visits to resume.
This decision will most heavily affect college football, which has already lost months of recruiting front for its 2021 freshman class. Private jet bookings by recruiting coaches and staff have also been reduced to nothing as a result.
The NCAA defines a quiet period as a time when:
“A college coach may not have face-to-face contact with college-bound student-athletes or their parents off the college campus and may not watch student-athletes compete or visit their high school.”
…An impressive and long-awaited step away from the limitations of emails or Zoom calls to potential recruits.
While infection rates still need to decline and vaccinations need to increase, there could likely be a quick shift in college recruiting taking place before summer.
What would that mean for recruiting-related travel and recruiting as a whole?
1. On-Campus Recruiting & Events Resume
Ditch the Zoom tours! College football programs will once again host recruits on campus, including summer football camps and live visits. In anticipation, several schools have already begun scheduling on-campus visits and have announced dates for football camps.
2. Evaluation and Contact Periods Fast-Tracked
With the 2021-2022 football season approaching quickly, we expect that as long as COVID infection rates decline, that the NCAA will implement more frequent evaluation and contact periods so that coaches and players can connect on their home turf.
3. Optimizing Coach Travel Time & Schedule
The recruiting period this year is already severely limited, which means it’s more important than ever for coaches and athletic teams to connect with players in-person and as quickly as possible. With time being of the essence, chartering a private jet is one of the best ways to regulate and optimize coach schedules so that they can connect with more top players in less time.
4. Private Jet Charter Influx
As mentioned, with limited time, we predict an increase in the number of schools chartering private planes for their head coaches for recruiting purposes. Many coaches are already typically allotted a large number of flight hours or dollars annually. As an example of flight volume, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that in 13 days in December of 2019, the University of Georgia chartered 42 trips spanning 23 non-Georgia cities for its head coach and staff. While flight hours may be less this year, given time restraints, the industry should expect to see more schools overall flying and have aircraft at the ready as soon as the dead and quiet periods lift. We know PJS will!
5. Increased Safety Protocols
While in-person visits will be allowed, things will look a little different and there may still be limitations to contact and proximity to staff and other players. Many schools are already laying out new advancements to protocols to host families and prospects safely. PJS also continuously updates its safety protocols for its aircraft, staff and clients to comply with the ever-changing regulations laid out by the government and CDC. The safety and health of players are our priority.