What Are the Latest Changes to the NCAA Recruiting Rules (as of Spring 2018)?
Be aware of the updated NCAA rules so you can successfully navigate the recruiting process.
The NCAA has implemented new recruiting rules with the intent to allow prospective student-athletes more time to navigate their options and to limit the number of recruits getting verbal offers as eighth graders, freshman, and sophomores in high school. The main focus on the new rules, as it pertains to prospective student-athletes, relates to official and unofficial visits, as well as athletic camps.
As a refresher, official visits are paid for (in whole or in part) by an institution and cannot exceed 48 hours in length. Expenses covered can include transportation to and from the university, lodging, meals, and three admissions to a home athletic contest, as well as reasonable entertainment. A prospect is allowed to take a maximum of five official visits, with no more than one permitted to any single university. In contrast, unofficial visits are paid for entirely by the prospect/prospect’s family, and there is no limit to how may visits they can take to an institution. During these visits a prospect can meet with the team, tour athletics facilities, and meet with the coaches and athletic department staff members. The only expense a prospect may receive during an unofficial visit to a Division I university is three complimentary admissions to a home athletic contest.
Here are the updated NCAA recruiting rules:
1. Official visits can now begin September 1 of a prospect’s junior year of high school instead of the previously designated first day of classes of a prospect’s senior year. The prospects are still limited to a maximum of five official visits.
2. Unofficial visits are not allowed until September 1 of a prospect’s junior year of high school, whereas in the past, they were allowed at any time (except during a dead period) and regardless of graduation year.
3. Prospective recruits and college coaches are not allowed to have any recruiting conversations during camps prior to September 1 of the prospect’s junior year in high school. Previously, a coach could discuss his interest in a recruit and even make verbal offers at camps to prospects who had yet to enter their junior year of high school.
Prior to the newly adopted rules, it was commonplace for freshman and sophomores in high school (eighth graders in some cases) to have unofficial visits to campuses and meet with coaches and current players on the team. Now, the only opportunity for prospects who haven’t yet started their junior year to meet with coaches is by attending a camp of those respective coaches. However, recruiting conversations are not allowed to take place during these camps if the prospect has yet to begin his junior year in high school.
Additionally, it’s important to remember that all prospects who have yet to begin their junior year are still allowed to initiate calls and written correspondence to college coaches. However, Division I coaches cannot reply, with the exception of an athletic questionnaire, prior to September 1 of the prospect’s junior year. Also, if you have not yet started your junior year in high school, you’re still able to visit a campus but are simply not allowed to meet with the coach or anyone in the athletic department during the visit. You could, however, take a campus tour like any interested student or meet with anyone in the admissions office. Remember, college coaches are still able to contact your high school coach, swing instructor, head pro at your golf course, or the like prior to your junior year in high school.
Understanding the updated NCAA recruiting rules will enable you to continue to be proactive in your search for a best-fit university and properly navigate the recruiting process.
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