Athletic recruiting up despite COVID-19, NCAA restrictions

The COVID-19 shadow has hurt PNW enrollment, but student-athlete admissions increased by 16% this year. 

“The future looks bright,” said Athletic Director Rick Costello.

The pandemic’s shadow looms over the campus, contributing to significant budget cuts, changing restrictions and enrollment declines.

But Costello said the fact that PNW has 15 athletic teams and clubs, including last year’s addition of ice hockey, and this year’s addition of esports, means the university offers home field advantage for many local student-athletes. 

This year’s student-athlete population is nearly 300. 

Recruiting poses a challenge for the school.  As an NCAA division II team, PNW is at the mercy of the NCAA’s ever evolving regulations. For example, in the wake of COVID-19, NCAA eliminated in-person scouting and spectators. But the school’s teams have overcome it by relying more on incoming player highlight reels, the ability to live stream games, and as Costello put it “the great character within our program.”

It helped that the university’s student-athletes achieved a combined GPA of 3.43 and donated more than 3,000 community service hours, according to Costello. 

The community has the chance to help PNW’s athletic program. Events such as golf outings and fundraisers, as well as buying team apparel and donating can all help with funding.

“Together we can overcome the struggles we all face,” said Costello.