Thanks to Rick Paine of ACC Recruits, who provided us with many of these clarifications on the new NCAA recruiting rules.
As a result of the NCAA’s recently-updated Division I recruiting rules, college coaches can begin calling current high school juniors as of May 1, the date the new rules go into effect.
The recruiting rule changes were actually designed to curb early recruiting. But it’s a bit of a give-and-take in that regard. The new rules bar coaches from accepting phone calls from prospective student-athletes prior to the summer after their sophomore year (meaning coaches can’t effectively recruit sophomores, freshmen or younger athletes who initiate the call to the coach), but does move up the date coaches can call recruits by a full year.
The often-confusing rules regarding NCAA recruiting feature a number of different restrictions on a number of different recruiting activities: when a coach can receive a call from a recruit, when a coach can initiate contact, when coaches can schedule official/unofficial visits, when coaches can make verbal and written scholarship offers, etc. We’ve seen a couple good attempts to visualize that information – you can see one below, courtesy of Virginia coach Tyler Fenwick, who posted it to his Twitter:
There is a lot of bad information about NCAA recruiting and perspective student athletes out there. Here is brand new legislation from the NCAA that I hope will clarify any uncertainty. ⚔️ pic.twitter.com/G8kBm9Tf9t
— Tyler Fenwick ⚔️🇺🇸 (@UVACoachFenwick) April 26, 2019
Ultimately, the timeline of recruiting is going to look something like this, per our conversations with Rick Paine, Fenwick’s chart, the NCAA’s press release and our own research into the old NCAA rulebook on recruiting:
|Old Rules||New Rules||Change|
|Coaches can have correspondence/private messages (texts, e-mails, Instagram/Twitter,/Facebook private messages, etc.) with recruit||September 1 after sophomore year||June 15 after sophomore year||
A month and a half earlier
|Coaches can accept incoming phone calls from recruit||Anytime||June 15 after sophomore year||Now restricted|
|Coaches can place phone calls to recruit||July 1 after junior year||June 15 after sophomore year||
Just over a year earlier
|Recruit can take unofficial visit||September 1 of junior year||August 1 before junior year||A month earlier|
|Recruit can take official visit||September 1 of junior year||August 1 before junior year||A month earlier|
|Coach can contact athlete off-campus||July 1 after junior year||August 1 before junior year||
Almost a year earlier
|Coach can make verbal offer of roster spot, scholarship, etc.||Anytime||Anytime beyond June 15 after sophomore year||
Not legislated – but more restricted now that early recruiting communication is prohibited
With the new rules taking effect on May 1, coaches will now be able to call current high school juniors, who were previously unable to be called until July 1, but are now fair game as it’s well beyond June 15 following their sophomore year.
A month and a half later, on June 15, coaches will be able to call current high school sophomores.
For swimming specifically, it won’t exactly be open season, as most of the top high school juniors have already verbally committed. (Check out our boys and girls ranks of the top current juniors here, with 31/40 already committed, and stay tuned for updated rankings of those classes in the next week). But we could see things accelerate with the sophomore class in particular, where athletes can start taking calls in just under two months.
Reactions have been mixed since the new rules were announced. The CSCAA unsuccessfully asked for swimming & diving to be exempted from the rule, citing 95% opposition among Division I head swimming coaches. Others have suggested that the new rules will force student-athletes to commit earlier in order to not miss out on scholarship or roster spots. On the other hand, some say that the restrictions on recruiting of freshmen and younger are important, and that allowing earlier visits allows athletes to make more informed choices.
We’ve reached out to the Division I Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) for a student-athlete perspective on the rules, and we’ll update if we hear back.