NCAA Adjusts Recruiting Dates, Locations for Prospects

by Wendy Mayer 30

April 19th, 2018 College, News

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.

Leave a Reply

Notify of

oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Steve Schaffer
6 years ago

One little wrinkle that has yet to be addressed, the DI rules still only allow phone calls to recruits and off-campus contact starting July 1 AFTER a recruits junior year. Kind of tough to set up recruiting visits for September of the junior year if you cannot actually call the recruit prior to that. I am sure the NCAA will clean that up as non-controversial legislation, but it is odd that it was not considered at the same time.

Reply to  Steve Schaffer
6 years ago

Not sure if this is a huge issue. Coaches that want phone contact with swimmers can and do request to set up a call via email. Personally, I’d like to see this stay the same. This gives the student the option of whether they want to have phone contact in their junior year, at least until July 1. Every student is different and those that want to speak to coaches prior to July 1 are still able to set up that phone call.

6 years ago

I think the largest part of this change is not being talked about. Athletic Departments now cannot be involved in unofficial visits until the junior year. These changes are for all sports other than football and basketball. Several of these sports have been recruiting students in middle school. With these changes it should curtail that practice and allow more time for all athletes to investigate their choices.

(G)olden Bear
6 years ago

As the parent of a reasonably talented h/s junior: starting in September of his junior year, he received generic or personalized emails from at least 50-60 schools. In consultation with his club coach, he quickly narrowed his list of “possibles” to 20, and had one or more phone conversations with each of them. He then took 5 unofficial visits in the fall/winter. After the visits, he was able to narrow his list of schools to three. And he verbally committed early in the new year, before the pressure of the big spring swim meets. For a swimmer like this, there is nothing wrong with the process getting “earlier” – he’s now able to focus on school and swimming for the… Read more »

6 years ago

What happened to sports being fun? As a current high schooler and a two sport athlete until my sophomore year, I can’t imagine a situation where kids don’t begin specializing until high school starts. Move backwards with this, because generations of kids putting focus into one sport this early is good for nobody. Even though junior year commitments aren’t horrible, especially if it has been a kid’s dream school for their entire life, but the earlier recruiting was going to happen anyway. From now on, we will see this incite its most serious change in young athletes specializing too early.

6 years ago

All the better for IU during the free agent trading deadline to bolster the ranks with developed athletes.

6 years ago

No, it is good news because we will get more awkward shots of smiling in the backyard with a college T-shirt on.

6 years ago

Time with tell but my first reaction is that this is a very good idea. Fall of Senior year is simply not enough time to visit several schools and think over such s big decision. My swimmer committed as a junior and we did not get the luxury of visiting numerous schools at the college’s expense.
If that option was available we most certainly would’ve gone to more schools. However, it would not have changed my swimmer’s decision as it was well thought out over YEARS of research into the school, program, and location.
This change affords the swimmer more time for those who are more on the fence… it will lead to more junior commitments for sure… Read more »

Reply to  Swimparent
6 years ago

“The change affords the swimmers more time for those who are on the fence…”

Of course a 15/16yr old is going to be on the fence for what’s essentially their largest, life-changing decision to-date. But at the higher levels this will essentially force them to make those decisions earlier than they most likely will be ready for.

We’re going to see an increase in transfer (and probably attrition) numbers as this trend continues. I’m not sure that’s a positive thing.

Reply to  DrSwimPhil
6 years ago

Not necessarily. I don’t think Carson Foster was on the fence. But other parents not in that situation will always judge.

Reply to  Swimparent
6 years ago

So one data point (which still has yet to be determined in reality) proves you right? It’s not about “judging”, it’s about how this reality is going to work (and has already started manifesting itself).

Reply to  DrSwimPhil
6 years ago

I don’t know how many kids make great leaps in maturity between the spring of their junior year and the fall of their senior year. Taking 5 OV between September and October was unnecessary, stressful and interfered with school and training. Having the junior year would have been a blessed luxury. Having more time may lead to more informed decisions and less attrition. Time will tell.

6 years ago

I took an unofficial visit to a school I liked my junior year and absolutely loved it.

Then I went and took it as one of my official visits as a senior and absolutely hated it. My “safety school” ended up being perfect for me and I committed almost immediately. I almost didn’t even take a trip there.

I fear that if it had been the norm to take official trips and commit as a junior I would have made a horrible decision for myself. I changed my mind on what I wanted to major in and my swimming goals changed. The teams themselves can change a lot too. So much can happen between junior and senior year!… Read more »