Athletic Scholarships and Social Distancing


Sophie Bright

By Sophie Bright
Editorial Page Editor

Like most of the major events this year, most Millikan sports have been altered or canceled all together due to COVID-19 precautions. This has also greatly affected the ability for seniors and juniors to receive athletic scholarships. After speaking with Mike Garibasio and JJ Fiddler from, it is more clear about how athletic scholarships are still being handed out, with the exception of a few alterations.

Firstly, the scholarships are typically given out by college scouts watching the athletes play in the games that take place during the fall and sometimes spring semesters. This year, since there haven’t been any games to observe, the scholarships are being given out in other ways such as through film. Mike Garabasio said, “This is actually how most evaluation was done even prior to the pandemic,” so some methods have not been dramatically changed due to COVID-19.

One thing that has really been altered from the pandemic is the ability to see how the athletes fit into the team that they could be joining, as well as the on campus recruiting visits which allow for the incoming athletes to preview the campus and dorms that they will be living in. These visits can be very important for the athletes to pick between two schools that could be offering up a scholarship to them. It has been stated by Garibasio that they have been doing the campus tours via zoom, but most know that that is never an ideal situation.

Recently, the Long Beach School District has been approved to hold few sports games against other schools. In the month of February Millikan’s football team attended a game against another Long Beach high school for the first time in almost a year. This did not affect the process of scholarships though, because the attendance level of the games was limited to athletes’ family and coaches with no outside attendees or students.

The picture is a photo taken off of the athletics website, displaying how no games are taking place

Secondly, the process is of course going to be different than other years in the fact that the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has lengthened its “dead period,” which is the time where in-person recruiting (which includes in-home visits, and official visits by athletes to college) has been prohibited. 

“There are also club sports and states that have fewer COVID restrictions. So athletes who are in those more open states, and the ones who can afford to play club, have an advantage when it comes to getting noticed by recruiters,” says JJ Fiddler from Because Millikan is in a city with a higher COVID-19 count, it is less likely for athletes to be noticed because of the circumstances. 

The last thing to account for is that the NCAA is offering fewer scholarships overall, which means fewer opportunities for the incoming freshmen. “Those players who are back for another year are basically using roster spots and scholarship money that would usually go to incoming freshmen. Overall there’s just less opportunities.” says Fiddler.

Everything this year has been altered to fit the COVID-19 guidelines so it’s really no surprise that a few tweaks had to be made in order to fit the CDC’s recommendations.