The NCAA has adopted additional rules to curb the growth of early recruiting and normalize the college search for student-athletes. The biggest change is that these new rules limit the timing and nature of communication between college coaches and athletes. Here are the main updates to recruiting rules:
- Zero communication between a coach and athlete until June 15 after sophomore year.
- No official or unofficial visits until August 1 of junior year.
- No off-campus contact until August 1 of junior year.
- No verbal offers or commitments from student-athletes until June 15 after sophomore year.
What does coach communication include?
Any phone, text, email or social media communication between a student-athlete or parent/guardian and a DI college coach. This includes private messages and incoming and outgoing phone calls.
In the past, coaches could talk with any athlete as long as the athlete initiated the phone call. But with the new rule, this loophole is closed up. Until June 15 after your sophomore year of high school, you can’t engage in any communication with a DI coach.
What do official and unofficial visits include?
Any visit to a college campus that is financed by the school (official visit) or any visit paid for by the family that includes a recruiting conversation with the coaching staff (unofficial visit). You can still check out a campus before August 1 of junior year, but you can’t talk about recruiting with the coach.
What is off-campus contact?
According to the NCAA, off-campus contact is defined as any time a coach has face-to-face contact with student-athletes or parents off the college campus and says more than hello. Coaches can still come watch you play before August 1 of junior year, but they aren’t allowed to talk to you or your parents before or after the game.
Are early offers and commitments still allowed?
No. While the NCAA didn’t specifically legislate any rules around early offers or commitments, the new DI recruiting rules prohibit any recruiting interaction until June 15 after sophomore year. In the past, college coaches could make early offers to athletes on official/unofficial visits, through a high school/club coach or during a camp or tournament. But the new rules around coach communication, campus visits and off-campus contact fill in the loopholes to curb early commitments.
How do the new DI rules impact the other division levels?
The new rules don’t directly change the recruiting timeline for DII, DIII, NAIA or Junior College schools. However, DI recruiting behavior can have a ripple effect. Coaches at the other levels often wait for DI coaches to fill up their recruiting classes before making offers to prospects. This allows them to get commitments from talented recruits who just missed out on the DI level for one reason or another. A ramped up DI recruiting timeline will speed everything up at the lower levels as well.
- How do these rule changes impact your recruiting process?
These rules give you more time to get to know college coaches and check out a few schools before you commit. But keep in mind—the ramped-up timeline means coaches will be looking to make scholarship offers as soon as possible. Here are a few ways to get your ducks in a row ahead of time:
- Take the ACT/SAT early
- Create an NCAA Eligibility Center Account–You need this certificate before you take an official visit to a D1 or D2 school
- Compile a list of recruiting questions for the coach
- Meet with Surf College Counselor Gareth Tomlinson e: email@example.com