Nolan Barry, a senior, is a catcher on the varsity baseball team hoping to play at a D1 or D2 college. When athletic activities were put on pause due to the pandemic, Barry, like other athletes, found himself uncertain of what was to come.
After having his junior season canceled right as it was underway, Barry was disappointed, however, he remained optimistic about opportunities to showcase his skills over the summer. When summer came around and the NCAA announced its first extension of the Dead Period through Sept. 30, Barry had no opportunities to play in front of college scouts and coaches.
However, towards the middle of fall and early winter, Barry came across a couple of opportunities to take the field.
“Since the beginning of school, I have been lucky enough to go to 2 or 3 showcases,” said Barry. “One of those showcases helped me get in contact with Chico State, which is the main college I’m pursuing as of now.”
Though Barry was able to visit Chico State easily due to its close proximity to Sacramento, he was unable to meet the baseball coach in person due to the extended NCAA Dead Period.
“I visited the Chico campus on my own, but everything recruiting-related has been over the phone,” said Barry.
When asked about challenges in the recruiting process caused by the pandemic, Barry cited the modified NCAA protocols as a key factor.
“One big problem many athletes including myself are facing is that all the college athletes from 2020 and even this year in 2021 will be given back an extra year or two of NCAA eligibility so that almost doubles the competition for any high school athlete to get playing opportunities,” said Barry. “Had COVID not have happened, I believe I would have been committed by now.”
As Barry continues his talks with Chico State and keeps his eyes open for other schools, he continues putting in the work to ensure that he’s ready to take the field next year regardless of where he may be.
“Thankfully, I’ve been able to still workout and find places to do hitting and skill work,” Barry said. “I train at Hyperthrive Athletics 5 days a week in a small group and masks are mandatory. When I go hit, it’s usually only with 2-5 people and we all wear masks.”