Thursday, April 15, 2021

NCAA Allows Resumption of In-Person Recruiting June 1; Orlando Challenger Quarterfinals Feature Six Americans; Fruhvirtova Downs Navarro to Reach MUSC Quarterfinals

The long-awaited end of the recruiting dead period was announced today by the NCAA, with in-person recruiting and campus visits, which have not been allowed since March of 2020, set to resume on June 1.  

In addition, some of the restrictions on who can contact a prospective student-athlete have been loosened:

Council members also granted a waiver to allow school staff to participate in a call with any number of uncommitted prospective student-athletes in any sport and to allow student-athletes to participate in phone calls with a coach and prospective student-athletes or at the direction of a coach. Additionally, student-athletes cannot be directed to make calls on a day off.

The Council also approved a blanket waiver allowing full-time institutional staff members, current students and all coaches, including volunteer coaches, to initiate recruiting calls (for example, telephone calls, video calls) involving prospective student-athletes whom an institution is permitted to call. The waiver is in effect from June 1 through Dec. 31, 2021, and requires staff who are not making or receiving calls to prospects under an existing legislated exception (for example, academic advisors and compliance administrators) to pass the recruiting exam before making or receiving calls.

It will be great to see college coaches back at junior tournaments--they were certainly missed by everyone at last year's Orange Bowl and the recent tournaments in San Diego--and the June 1 date allows them to attend most of the important closed events in sections, typically held in that month. The French Open Juniors would also be a possibility with the new dates, although I imagine it would be even more difficult than usual to find a credential for that event.

Four second round matches were on the schedule today at the ATP Challenger 80 in Orlando, with six Americans playing. Michael Mmoh and Christian Harrison won the two all-US battles, with Mmoh defeating Christopher Eubanks 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 and Harrison taking out University of Illinois senior Aleks Kovacevic 6-4, 6-3.  In the other two matches, No. 5 seed Denis Kudla defeated Tim Van Rijthoven of the Netherlands 5-7, 6-2, 7-5 and Jack Sock beat No. 6 seed Prajnesh Gunneswaran of India 6-3, 6-4. 

Friday's quarterfinals will feature Sock versus Harrison, Mmoh versus Kudla, Jenson Brooksby versus Zane Khan, and in the former collegiate battle, Roberto Cid of the Dominican Republic(South Florida) versus Brayden Schnur of Canada(North Carolina).  Kudla is the only seed remaining.

Free live streaming of all the matches is available here.

The action today at the WTA MUSC Health Women's Open in Charleston didn't begin until 1 p.m. and two matches that were two-and-a-half hours in length made for a late night for teens Emma Navarro and Linda Fruhvirtova, who were fourth on. 

The 15-year-old Czech came out on top, overcoming a 4-2 deficit in the first set for a 6-4, 6-2 win and a place in the quarterfinals against Astra Sharma of Australia.

Earlier in the day, 19-year-old Maria Camila Osorio Serrano of Colombia came back to defeat Christina McHale 2-6, 7-6(2), 7-6(1) and former Vanderbilt star Sharma outlasted No. 8 seed Madison Brengle 6-4, 4-6, 7-5. In between, top seed Ons Jabeur downed qualifier Alycia Parks 6-4, 6-0. 

Shelby Rogers, the No. 3 seed, plays Volvo Car Open finalist Danka Kovinic of Montenegro, Jabeur faces Nao Hibino of Japan and Clara Tauson of Denmark meets Osorio Serrano in a battle of former junior slam champions.