CSCAA Asks NCAA to Extend Recruiting Restrictions until April 2021

The College Swimming and Diving Coaches Association (CSCAA) has requested that the NCAA extend its recruiting restrictions for college programs well beyond the current moratorium, which expires at the end of August.

In a letter released on Tuesday, the CSCAA asked the NCAA to extend the recruiting dead period until December and to extend a moratorium to on-campus visits through March of 2021.

An NCAA “dead period” restricts coaches from meeting with student-athletes in person on campus or off. The NCAA first put a dead period in place relating to the global coronavirus pandemic in mid-March, and recently extended it until at least the end of August. In making that decision, M. Grace Calhoun, the chair of the Division I Council Coordination Committee (CCC), said that the decision was made to allow “coaches to focus on the student-athletes who may be returning to campus.”

CSCAA Executive Director Greg Earhart laid out 3 specific concerns for requesting the extension related to the coronavirus outbreak. Last year, when the NCAA was changing recruiting restrictions, the CSCAA has also asked the NCAA to limit early recruiting in swimming, though not for coronavirus reasons.

  • Student-Athlete Health and Safety – Absent a vaccine, effective testing, and contact-tracing, on-campus visits are far too great of a risk to take during the season. Placing current student-athletes at risk of infection is simply irresponsible. By postponing visits, institutions can minimize this risk and enable programs to complete the 2020-21 season.
  • Cost – Eliminating Fall visits would produce immediate and significant savings for programs that are currently wrestling with significant losses in revenue. To date, Division I coaches have already trimmed a collective $6.2 million from their budgets.
  • Competitive Balance – Coaches are adamant in their desire for the consistent application of recruiting restrictions throughout. With states and campuses reopening in different stages and under widely varying levels of restriction this would provide a more level playing field.

USA Swimming’s next scheduled national championship events, which will be the US Open from December 2-5 and Winter Juniors from December 9-12, would fall after the CSCAA’s requested end period. Those meets provide crucial facetime between college coaches, club coaches, and prospective student-athletes in a normal year; given the current restrictions, these meets could become even more crucial.

April marks the end of the NCAA season, and not allowing recruits on campus until after the season would help mitigate risks of impacting the competitive year.

The CSCAA says that in developing the proposal, they considered the relative risk of a coach travelling to a meet and being able to self-quarantine from their college team once they get back, as compared to a prospective student-athlete coming to campus and potentially exposing an entire college team to the virus.

“We appreciate the NCAA’s Council Coordination Committee’s quick response and flexibility to a rapidly-changing environment,” said the CSCAA’s new president Joe Dykstra, the head coach at Utah. “At the same time, both coaches and PSA’s find themselves living month-to-month and this would provide everyone an opportunity to enter the recruiting process in an educated way.”

According to the CSCAA, the movement for this request came from coaching groups in 3 Power 5 conferences (which according to one coach included the Pac-12 and Big Ten).

Earhart says that he and director of member and legislative services Sam Barany reached out to take a pulse of both their swimming membership, and of other supports.

“Support was strong to begin, and unanimous among our Board and Executive Board,” Earhart says. Earhart says that as they’ve gone through this process, several coaches have called to change their stance.

At last check, Earhart says that around 87-88% of coaches polled were in favor of this move.

SwimSwam reached out to a number of Division I head coaches and recruiting coordinators and received mixed responses.

Some were against the idea of extending a ban on campus visits prematurely, saying that they would instead support a modification of official visits to reduce the risk of spreading infections. Others supported the CSCAA’s ban, citing similar safety concerns.

One interesting thread of responses to our straw poll came from at least 3 NCAA Division I coaches who told SwimSwam that they were generally in favor of rolling back the recruiting cycle to later in athletes’ high school careers, so that they were in favor of the CSCAA’s proposal for those reasons that extend beyond the connection to coronavirus. That is in line with the CSCAA’s previous requests to limit early recruiting.

NCAA Division I schools have begun welcoming student-athletes back on campus, though many schools have paused that after outbreaks either on campus or in the local area. The University of Arizona announced this week that they were delaying their student-athletes’ return to campus because of an outbreak of cases in Pima County, though only 1 Arizona student-athlete had tested positive.

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Nswim
1 year ago

I agree that they need to protect recruits, but as a rising senior I would hate to never be able to meet the team I’m committing to. I think that there must be other ways to keep everyone safe and happy

COSwimMom
Reply to  Nswim
1 year ago

I would completely agree. There are plenty of 2021’s that have not had any visits yet, and had planned on spring visits that were cancelled. I can see stating no visits for 2022’s until spring, but these 2021’s need the opportunity to visit before then verbally commit to a school

AZswummer
Reply to  Nswim
1 year ago

Just for admission purposes, most colleges want a decision by April of senior year. Meeting the team is SO critical to a recruit because the team culture needs to be highly considered. Don’t deny kids this opportunity. Don’t have them stay overnight with the team but please give them a chance to interact. If you don’t, the transfer rate will be crazy.

SwimFan49
Reply to  Nswim
1 year ago

If this is implemented, I wonder if we will see a correlation in increased transfers among this HS senior class a couple of years from now.

JCO
Reply to  SwimFan49
1 year ago

There will likely be a higher transfer rate a few years from now for this class, but not all because of the pandemic. The class of 2021 was the class where commitments in the fall of junior year became very popular for the first time. Before, it was only the very best guys

B1Guy!
Reply to  JCO
1 year ago

Might see more kids staying in-state or closer to home too. Familiarity

Anonymous
Reply to  B1Guy!
1 year ago

Staying closer to home where they most likely will know swimmers on the team and have a better feel for the coaches and chemistry of the team, maybe even familiar with the facilities. I know most of the meets we attend(ed) were at colleges.

KCBMom
Reply to  B1Guy!
1 year ago

This would, however, hurt kids who have NO D1 schools in their state. They have to travel to find their teams.

SwimFan49
1 year ago

Wow, while I get the desire to protect current athletes, this is sure a tough blow for the high school class of ’21. Many of them had their spring visits cancelled already, and this would basically have them commit without meeting the coaches or team in person.

Swim Coach
1 year ago

Easy for the Power 5 conferences to say, since they have the majority of their class of 2021 already visited &/or confirmed. This would be very bad for the rest of the class of 2021, especially those looking at Mid-Major schools

collegeswimmer
1 year ago

A lot of kids are going to commit over phone as well. Even if in person meetings don’t happen there are still going to be “fights” for roster spots.

DeepSouth
Reply to  collegeswimmer
1 year ago

100%

Debbie
1 year ago

The class of 2021 is the one that is going to suffer the most from this. Remember, these kids have been “recruiting” since June of last year. They are ready to make commitments and just need to do visits to make the decision. Modify the recruiting trips to provide “safety” for the team members. Take the PSA temperature, make them have a negative test done days before arriving on campus, masks etc.., don’t let them stay in the dorm with current athletes….there are plenty of modifications that can be made to make these trips safe so these PSA Class of 2021 can make their decisions.

Meeeeeee
Reply to  Debbie
1 year ago

Well at least most of them had a taper meet in their junior year which is thought by most to be the most important HS year. Those in the 2022 class will possibly go up to a year without a taper meet and without regular practices.

Stinky
Reply to  Meeeeeee
1 year ago

I don’t agree with the first part of that statement. Over 2/3 of the Sectionals meets weren’t held and for a lot of these swimmers that’s their big taper meet. Some may have had a different meet targeted but a lot of them have Sectionals as their season finale especially since most high school state championships have a smaller slate of events that is more geared to sprint distances (often no 200 in the strokes and no 400 IM and no mile).
I do agree that it may be even more challenging for the 2022 class.

SwimFan49
Reply to  Stinky
1 year ago

Right, which is why such an extended dead period would be even more painful for the ’21 class. A large number of them never got their tapered meet. A member of that class hoping for some time drops in March to give him/her a chance with some slight reach/bubble schools was already in a tough spot as it was.

KCBMom
Reply to  Meeeeeee
1 year ago

Sectionals was canceled the morning it was to start for Region 8 athletes…so no.

coach
Reply to  KCBMom
1 year ago

No NCSA, Y Nationals, or ISCA meet either.

Swimmom
Reply to  Debbie
1 year ago

No high school swim season For CA. Class of 2022 and 2021 missed out on final short course season swims.

Love2Swim
1 year ago

Unfortunately, this makes sense. All data points to a true GOT “winter is coming” scenario. This is a recruiting nightmare. It seems that all schools are asking their students to socially distamce while on campus this fall, and they all plan on closing at Thanksgiving. What kind of visits would these kids have? Moreover, what is likelihood USA Swimming meets will go in December? GA Tech sending students home at Thanksgiving….. It does not bode well.

FREEBEE
1 year ago

I think it has everything to do with cost/competitive balance and probably other stuff coaches are unwilling to state publically at the moment. No way that small meetings (3-8 people) with a mask and/or social distancing would not be perfectly safe. No one needs open and big meetings and team parties at the moment. Sucks for the 2021 students that actually were patient, trying to get to know colleges, coaches, and their staffs over time.

Uncommitted 2021
1 year ago

Although I’m only one voice, I’d like to express my concerns with the recent CSCAA restrictions, and the potential future ones that will likely ensue. From the perspective of a 2021 uncommitted recruit, the current circumstances have created an extremely difficult recruiting process. Spring visits were cancelled, and it seems the Fall ones may follow which makes the process even more ambiguous as it is hard to define the pros and cons of each school without experiencing them. After taking several visits in fall of 2019, I was able to understand the value of seeing a school in person. Some schools’ potential dropped in my eyes, and others pleasantly surprised me. All this to say that making a decision on… Read more »

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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