Kade McGovern was on the radar of many top college volleyball programs early on in his high school career. But due to a new NCAA rule that went into effect May 1, 2019, colleges were no longer allowed to talk to players until after their sophomore years
So essentially they couldn’t talk to McGovern for a few months.
But once the embargo was over, the 6-foot-6 Burroughs High senior outside hitter began to receive lots of messages via text, phone e-mail and more, some even coming in the middle of the night.
The recruiting process that lasted over a year has finally ended as McGovern found out Friday that he was accepted to Harvard University.
“It has been a roller coaster of emotions. I’m extremely grateful for how things worked out the way they did,” McGovern said. “It’s still surreal. I went through the recruiting process for so long. Knowing that it is all finished with is really nice. It is a lot less stress.”
McGovern, who will turn 18 next month, had previously given a silent verbal commitment to Stanford University that was contingent upon him getting accepted into the university.
But things took an unexpected bizarre turn in the summer when Stanford announced that it was cutting a number of sports programs including men’s volleyball.
“It forced me to pivot pretty quick,” McGovern said. “At that point, other schools had already been making their decisions and the schools I had (spoken with) prior to my Stanford commitment (I told) to wait. It was an awkward situation. Most schools were extremely accepting of the fact that I was looking at those schools as an option too.”
McGovern said one of the schools that stepped up to express interest after news of Stanford dropping its program was Harvard.
“I was so fortunate to have Harvard reach out,” McGovern said. “Coach (Brian) Baise reached out to me and let me know their situation and I was able to get one of their three applications. At the beginning of September I submitted and I found out Friday.”
McGovern, who plays for San Gabriel Elite at the club level, said he has not decided on what he plans to major in. He does say however that he has an interest in math and science.
”Some schools focus more on volleyball, there’s some schools that have academics as more of their focus,” McGovern said of picking a college. “Either way there are amazing opportunities and there is no right or wrong way. But I really wanted to use volleyball as an outlet to reach those schools academically as an option.”
McGovern said he had taken four of the NCAA maximum five official visits to colleges and had already visited UCLA, USC, Cal State Long Beach and the Ohio State University. The fifth visit had been planned for Stanford.
“I was extremely fortunate to have offers from some amazing schools,” he said.
McGovern said he is hoping to end his high school experience by getting another chance to play with his Burroughs teammates if it is deemed safe to return from COVID-19.
“I’m trying to stay optimistic. We’re making do with what we can in terms of practicing safely outdoors and distanced,” he said of the current practice arrangement. “I’m really hoping for our season to happen as planned. But this whole thing has taught us that there are bigger things than volleyball. Safety is the most important thing.”