NCAA DII Extended Recruiting Period And Insight On Senior Football Player Zac Newbell

Haley Spicer, Sports Reporter

Henderson was making history after the men’s basketball team won the GAC tournament to get an automatic bid in the NCAA Division II playoffs. They didn’t get a chance to play in the NCAA Division II tournament as the 7th seed due the COVID-19 virus unfairly ending their season.

The coronavirus concluded spring and winter championships, but mainly impacted the spring sports seasons because they never got to get going in their respective sports.

Winter sport athletes didn’t get any relief for eligibility as a senior to play another season. Unlike the spring student athletes who are eligible to compete for another season.

The Division II committee did agree to extend the recruiting period until the last day of May. They are allowing staff members to engage with future student-athletes via phone only.

The NCAA has over 1,100 different institutions that affect 500,000 athletes that range across three divisions. They wanted to create unity among all student-athletes, so they created the #UnitedAsOne campaign. 

This campaign started relatively small with no more than 50 different athletic departments coming together via twitter seven days after the sports world came to a pause. Several schools shared the same vision to showcase positivity in light of darkness.

The #Biggerthan campaign stemmed from #UnitedAsOne which served the purpose that health is important and bigger than basketball. The overall message of these two campaigns centered around how important unity is while facing adversity.

Redshirt Senior, Wide Receiver, Zac Newbell discusses the importance of the pro day and what he’s doing to adapt to the quarantine life. With Henderson being a small Division II school, getting a pro day was massive to allow athletes like Zac to take the next step and play professionally.

He said that getting noticed without a pro day is “almost impossible because he’s a small school guy”. With HSU being a DII school, they are at a big disadvantage trying to compete with DI schools for recognition.

What are you looking forward to since the sports atmosphere is stopped? “Just making sure I stay ready for any opportunity that may present itself,” said Newbell. He isn’t limiting his options to just football.

What have you been working on that’s football-related? “I’m still training 4-6 days a week. Upper body, lower body, sprinting, route running and catching” said Newbell. He is still working on improving his skills in hopes to get another shot at pro day once this virus has passed to ensure he’ll be ready.

What do you expect to happen once COVID-19 is over to help you go pro? “If I get a call, then good. If I don’t, that’s all right too. I have a great career lined up ahead of me and I’m excited about it” said Newbell. He also said that “his mindset hasn’t changed one bit because he’s still on a mission”.

What were you thinking and feeling when you initially heard the pro day got canceled? “It was quite disappointing because it got canceled two days prior,” said Newbell. He said he “attempted to do a virtual pro day, it just didn’t work out”.

“Having a pro day was a blessing. I honestly wasn’t supposed to be playing collegiate football. But God..” said Newball. He credits God for being able to play a sport he loved for years.

He says the quarantine period has been beneficial to him because he has gotten “more time with my dad then I’ve had in a while because of school and football. Also reading a lot to better myself for the future”.

Newbell is very optimistic that he will have a great career in whatever he ends up doing.