April 13, 2024

Recent athletic recruitment for Wittenberg may be “lacking” in certain areas due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. It seems the numbers of winter athletic sports commitments have decreased significantly, based upon statistics from the school’s enrollment. The Wittenberg Torch spoke with coaches to discuss what the lack of athletic recruitment and how recruitment seemed to be little bit of a different this year.

When speaking with Head Football Coach Joe Fincham, Fincham had no worries about the commitment numbers as far as the football program.

Statistically, the numbers are “safe and sound”, Fincham said, granting injuries and those who drop the program. At the moment, the program allows the minimum of 140 members on the entire team. The members are on a staggered schedule for each position, and this schedule allows for each position to be filled with starters, back-ups and practice squad members. This also allows for anticipation for spots in positions, injuries, grade issues and those students who drop the program.

Fincham says the numbers for the program are exactly where they need to be since the recruiting and commitments are not made during the fall season, but are performed during the spring and summer to make way for any contingencies. The Wittenberg University is a member of the NCAA Division III, meaning no athletic scholarships are offered to students.

Some athletes, understandably due to the pandemic, may not want to continue any athletic program at this time, and some of the seniors may want to find a way to come back to invoke their last year of eligibility. Even though the winter sports were cancelled for competition, Fincham is still very optimistic about the practices, even though they were shortened, and future seasons.

As far as the rest of the sports go, Softball is in the same mindset. After speaking with Head Coach Shannon Schaub, she seems very enthusiastic about the ladies who have joined the program this year and the ones who are veterans. Schaub added that the team was only in its second week of practice and were on a staggered schedule of practices three times a week and each member was doing individual work.

The recruitment was pretty normal this year, as the softball team is a normal size.

“[The girls] would appreciate the support from everybody in [the battle of sports and COVID-19],” Schaub said.

In addition, Men’s Head Lacrosse Coach Jay Owen seemed just as optimistic about the upcoming season, as the team is currently in phase two of their schedule. They have currently held 16 practices, each 120 minutes long in a staggered schedule.

“The team had a good season last year and they hope to have another one this year,” Owen said. It may seem as if the numbers for recruitment were low, but after making a deduction in speaking with the coaches, it looks like it wasn’t the athletics, but the school’s low number of incoming and returning students.

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