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The NCAA recruiting freeze and what it means for Maryland athletics

All sports are in a dead period until April 15.

Sarah Sopher / Testudo Times

On Friday, the NCAA announced a new string of decisions regarding the Coronavirus pandemic, including a ban on in-person recruiting until April 15.

“The Council leadership put in place an immediate ban on in-person recruiting for Division I coaches,” the NCAA said in an announcement on Twitter. “Additionally, the group advised schools to suspend any official and unofficial visits to campus from prospective student-athletes.

“This recruiting dead period will be in place until at least April 15, at which time the Division I Council Coordination Committee will evaluate. Telephone calls and written correspondence are allowed during dead periods.”

Maryland football is one of the teams that had been on a roll in terms of recent recruiting trends, ranking No. 10 in the 247Sports Composite team rankings with nine class of 2021 commitments already on board.

Division I Bowl Subdivision programs recently underwent a dead period from Feb. 3 through Feb. 29, so this new shift in the calendar takes a popular chunk of time for recruits to make their way back to campuses.

This could be viewed as a positive and negative for the Terps, as players may not be able to come see the buzz in College Park, but they also cannot visit other programs.

Maryland men’s basketball had a rather down year in recruiting, with just the No. 73 class in the nation with three-star combo guard Marcus Dockery having already signed and three-star Chicago-area point guard Aquan Smart joining the fold with a verbal commitment on Feb. 23.

For Mark Turgeon and his staff, this dead period comes at a time where attention would normally turn to the transfer portal. The Terps had gotten some portal buzz before the season ended as they welcomed Columbia transfer Patrick Tape to College Park on a visit when College GameDay was in town. Harvard grad transfer Seth Towns reportedly has interest in Maryland, but things are still early.

With no postseason and eligibility questions surrounding this season, the portal will shake out later than usual and the Terps will have to fight hard on the trail.

This dead period doesn’t just affect football and men’s basketball, however, as women’s basketball head coach Brenda Frese mentioned recruiting after the abrupt end to the 2019-20 season.

“As we were closing things down, we had a lot of momentum with this class of 2021,” Frese said. “But I think at this point we’ve put ourselves in good position, so I think what it does is slows the timetable down for them. But I think consistently you’ve done your body of work so I think it’ll just take time once we’re able to bring kids to campus, to be able to get back into homes. I think it just kind of puts things at a pause right now.”

Frese and the Terps will welcome the No. 2 overall 2020 prospect, Angel Reese, in College Park next fall, but the class of 2021 includes talent across the board with St John’s College High School (D.C.) guard Azzi Fudd as the No. 1 player in the nation, according to ESPN.

The sports landscape is certainly shifting due to fears surrounding COVID-19, and this recruiting measure is one of many ways to attempt to slow the spread of the virus.

This does not mean no news will come, but things will revert back to a slower pace until visits can resume for athletes.