The NCAA Division 1 Council announced today that they would be extending the current recruiting dead period through the beginning of the new year. The Council also approved the moving of all fall sport’s championships to the spring.
Extending Dead Period
The recruiting dead period places a moratorium on all in-person recruiting methods. This prevents coaches from having any contact with athletes, whether on campus or off, in a face-to-face setting. Coaches are still allowed to correspond with athletes electronically and athletes may still visit college campuses so long as they don’t make any contact with coaches.
The dead period was initially instituted in March following the cancellation of NCAA championships for winter and spring sports. It has been extended multiple times since then, with the latest extension prior to this ending at the end of August.
In June the College Swimming and Diving Coaches Association (CSCAA) requested that the NCAA extend recruiting restrictions until the end of March of 2021. In their request for the extension CSCAA Executive Director Greg Earhart cited three specific concerns.
- 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.
In addition to extending the dead period itself, the NCAA also added legislation preventing colleges from providing complimentary game tickets to potential athletes and their coaches until the dead period is lifted.
While the NCAA has elected to continue the dead period for D1, Division 2, who were in a quiet period which allows coaches to have contact with athletes in limited situations, has returned to it’s normal recruiting calendar.
Fall Sports Championships Moved to Spring
As well as announcing the continuation of the recruiting dead period, the Division I Council also approved a proposal to move fall sports championships to the spring. Council chair M. Grace Calhoun, who also serves as the athletic director at the University of Pennsylvania, said:
“While no one wanted to see fall championships impacted by the pandemic, the Competition Oversight Committee put a thoughtful proposal in front of the Council which was resoundingly endorsed. We believe we have an appropriate and considerate plan to move fall championship events to the spring, and I look forward to presenting this plan to the Board of Directors next week. The plan gives maximum opportunities to fall student-athletes to participate in NCAA championships while preserving access to conferences through automatic qualifications.”
The sports that will be affected by this decision include men’s and women’s cross country, field hockey, men’s and women’s soccer, women’s volleyball, and men’s water polo.
While the proposal was approved by the D1 Council, it still has to receive approval from the Division 1 Board of Directors.
Basketball Start Date and Spring FCS Championships
In the Council’s final approvals of the meeting, they approved the movement of the start date for men’s and women’s basketball and approved format framework for the FCS championship that will potentially be held in the spring.
For basketball, the first contest date was moved back roughly two weeks, from November 10th to November 25th. This aims to create a less populated campus environment as 75% of Division I schools will have either finished their semester or have only online exams left by that point. The maximum number of competitions allowed during the season was also reduced by four to reflect the shortened season.
Finally, the Council approved a framework for the practice and playing seasons for the FCS spring football championship. The championship, scheduled to take place from April 18th through May 15th, will see it’s field reduced to 16 teams instead of the usual 24. The selection of teams will be based on both fall and spring competitions. The framework must first receive approval from the Division I Board of Directors at their meeting next week before it is made official.
Originally published Sept 16 2020