A decision by the NCAA Division I Council will change the way student-athletes are recruited for all sports except football and basketball.
The new legislation, aimed at giving a prospective student-athlete more time in the recruiting process, reflects similar adjustments made to the football and men’s basketball calendars over the past year.
“These changes will improve the recruiting experience for prospective student-athletes and coaches and lead to better decision-making,” Blake James, Council chair and Miami (Florida) director of athletics, said. “Ultimately, a better recruiting process will improve the college experience for Division I student-athletes.”
The changes, which were also endorsed by the Division I Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, move up the start date for official visits to September 1 of the prospect’s junior year, instead of the first day of classes senior year.
In addition to moving up the start date for official visits, another key change is the removal of athletic departments from the unofficial visit process until September 1 of the prospect’s junior year. Also included in the new legislation is the ban of recruiting conversations during school camps and clinics until after the same date.
The recruiting changes stem from work by the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) and the Student-Athlete Experience Committee as well as feedback from coaches, athletics directors and compliance professionals. The changes will take effect with the start of next school year (2018-2019).
The impetus behind the legislation is the growing amount of recruiting of and verbal commitments by middle school athletes. While recruiting within swimming hasn’t yet gone that far, we have seen a complete paradigm shift in the recruiting process the past couple years, with more and more high-level swimmers verbally committing in the spring of their junior years and some during their sophomore years.
Not addressed in the approved legislation are communications, verbal and written offers and off-campus contacts.
Another item of note approved by the Division I Council is the adjustment of a notification of transfer proposal, making it effective Oct. 15, 2018. Through that legislation, transfer athletes make it known through a national database that they wish to be recruited by other schools. That proposal is due to come up for a vote in June.