NCAA Change: Coaches Can Begin Calling Junior Recruits As of May 1

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:

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.

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2 years ago

Hoping to wake up and hear Fenwick to Alabama. Roll Tide!

Reply to  AlabamaAlum16
2 years ago


2 years ago

Swimmers who want to go to more academic-rigorous schools, will need to learn to be more patient as more of their peer-swimmers OVing/committing earlier than ever.

2 years ago

Help me understand the following…

“Coaches can place phone calls…” Change is half a month earlier (July 1 AFTER Junior year to June 15 AFTER Sophomore year). That sounds like 1+ year earlier?!?

Note the similar changes for “Coach can contact athlete off campus” but that change says (as expected) almost one year earlier.

Thanks in Advance!!

Reply to  IN_SwimDad
2 years ago

You are correct IN_Swimdad. They goofed on the description of the change in the table. It is a little over one year earlier for students receiving phone calls.

Reply to  SwimParent
2 years ago

Thanks @swimparent – I looked at the twitter post from Tyler and it was consistent with my understanding. Thanks for the reply! Hopefully the post will be edited accordingly…

2 years ago

In a sport where even the fastest high school seniors would be borderline to score points at the NCAA championships, any move to earlier recruiting is pure stupidity. College coaches are going to have to recruit 10x more kids, then drop most of them after their HS junior year doesn’t play out. This just adds expense to programs that are already trying to limit their budgets. Our sport does not fund itself at the NCAA level, the governing body must make decisions to reduce cost of operations if they want this sport to be around in a few years. This change will do nothing but accelerate the transition to the college club swimming model as more and more programs are… Read more »

2 years ago

I’m confused about one aspect …. Can PSAs still send emails and complete online questionnaires prior to June 15 after their 10th grade year, or is that now (as of May 1) prohibited, too?

Reply to  12Volt
2 years ago

@12Volt the recruiting rules primarily govern what the schools can do, not what the students can do (activities that threaten eligibility are of course different). Students can complete recruiting questionnaires, send emails, make phone calls..or I guess even track coaches down on campus or in the grocery store if they choose. The new rules dictate that coaches just can’t initiate or reply to electronic communication until June 15th after sophomore year and if approached in person or over the phone, they may be polite but must end the encounter immediately and not make any comments that would reasonably be construed as recruiting .

Reply to  Swimparent
2 years ago

Thanks for for the confirm, Swimparent – that’s what I had thought. NCSA has some info on its website that I think could be read to mean students weren’t allowed to write coaches, which didn’t make sense to me.

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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