May 11, 2021

New missionary departure age affects recruitment

On Saturday, Oct. 6, at 10:10 a.m. the recruitment plans of USU Eastern were drastically impacted. For Greg Dart, director of enrollment services, and the ambassador team it meant scrapping many of their previous tactics and going back to the drawing board. However, for athletics, the change didn’t have such an intense impact.
During its semi-annual General Conference, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced that young men could now leave for missions at 18, and women at 19.

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This archived article was written by: Karli Morris

On Saturday, Oct. 6, at 10:10 a.m. the recruitment plans of USU Eastern were drastically impacted. For Greg Dart, director of enrollment services, and the ambassador team it meant scrapping many of their previous tactics and going back to the drawing board. However, for athletics, the change didn’t have such an intense impact.
During its semi-annual General Conference, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced that young men could now leave for missions at 18, and women at 19.
The announcement meant that USU Eastern needed to take a look at certain practices and make sure they were in line with current events. Dart said a new “Pre-Departure Care package” has been developed for anyone who takes a leave of absence. Students can apply for admissions, scholarships, housing and even have a draft schedule put together prior to leaving, and can even make sure that their parent or guardian has permission to finalize arrangement while they are away.
Dart says that USU Eastern will be hit with an immediate problem with enrollment, as many students have already announced their intentions to leave for their missions after fall semester. “USU Eastern will be fighting more of an uphill battle than anyone else in Utah.”
Dart said that a large number of students are LDS and the announcement has a potential to impact those students. For non-LDS students, there will likely be more competition for those students as well.
USU Eastern Chancellor, Joe Peterson, “This is really going to impact us (USU Eastern). He explained his concerns for enrollment as USU Eastern has been used as a “way point” for students on their way to something else. With missions happening directly after high school graduation, he worries the “way point” will be skipped.
However, USU Eastern’s recruiting worries do not end there. Athletics also faces challenges in recruiting. Athletic Director and Head Women’s Basketball Coach, Dave Paur, said, “I think men leaving at 18 will help community colleges. In the past, a young man would play one year and then leave for two years. While he was gone, other colleges would recruit him and you may or may not get him back.”
Assistant baseball coach and recruiting coordinator, KC Smurthwaite, said, “I imagine the majority of the players will leave on their missions after high school. So we (USU Eastern baseball) will have to sign kids that haven’t picked up a baseball for two years. We might have to over-recruit over the next few years because some missionaries get home and lose desire to play.”
Head Volleyball Coach, Chelsey Warburton, said that she doesn’t expect the announcement to have much impact on the program and hasn’t given it much thought.
Assistant Men’s Basketball Coach, Carter Roe, said that Eagle recruiters will have to come up with some new tactics on how to recruit students and how to keep USU Eastern their choice if they are gone for 18 months to a year.

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