The shutdown in college sports beginning in March left 16 teams at St. Louis University sidelined, with many unable to participate in NCAA competition for the entirety of 2020. For some, there will be at least 15 months between games.
But with plenty of downtime, coaches made the most of an altered recruiting world. When students returned in August, SLU had more than 400 athletes on campus for the first time in school history — an increase of nearly 10% — as several teams had success in luring newcomers despite the inability to leave campus to recruit.
“It was a testament to the coaches doing a great job recruiting in a different way,” athletics director Chris May said. “We’re always trying to recruit as many student-athletes as we can. Coaches did a great job communicating values and objectives. I don’t know if we did anything different, but we worked hard. I think recruiting is going to change in the long term.”
The swimming and track and field teams added volume to their rosters, and both soccer teams are slightly larger. Finding non-competition success stories was important in a year with little to celebrate on fields of play.
SLU was fast and aggressive in adopting Zoom as a medium, holding team workouts, meetings and unusual activities via videoconference. Most teams implemented intrasquad scrimmage schedules to replicate a competitive setting.
“We were all forced to make adjustments real quick to operating in a different way,” May said. “We had major successes this fall in getting teams ready to play. We have positive momentum as we look forward to getting teams back.”
Here is a look at the top stories in SLU sports in 2020: