NCAA Extends Division I Recruiting Dead Period Through April 15

The NCAA Division I council has extended the recruiting dead period for all NCAA Division I sports through April 15. This extends the existing dead period, announced in September, that extended through January 1.

“The COVID-19 numbers are not trending in the right direction for the Council to allow in-person recruiting and the associated long-distance travel for coaches, prospective student-athletes and their families,” said Council chair M. Grace Calhoun, athletics director at Penn. “We acknowledge the impact the restrictions are having on student-athletes who dream of being Division I athletes, but we must prioritize the health and safety of current and potential student-athletes and their families, as well as coaches and others on campus.”

During the recruiting dead period, coaches are not allowed to have in-person contact with prospective student-athletes either on campus or off campus. Electronic communication with student-athletes, including video calls, are allowed to continue. Student-athletes are also allowed to take trips of their own to visit a campus, though they are not allowed to meet with coaches while there.

College teams are also allowed to participate in open events, such as last week’s U.S. Open Championships, that occur during a dead period even if that event includes prospective student-athletes, providing no recruiting activities occur, according to a 2008 NCAA interpretation.

In June, the CSCAA asked the NCAA to extend the recruiting dead period until December and to extend a moratorium to on-campus visits through March of 2021. The timing of that was to account for allowing coaches to recruit at Junior Nationals, which were still planned as a large scale event at the time, and then to not allow potentially-infected recruits on campus until after the end of the swimming and diving season. With Junior Nationals being now an ‘any meet counts’ scenario without a high concentration of prospective student-athletes in any one place, those calls have not been publicly renewed since.

Members also voted to permit additional flexibility in virtual recruiting in football by allowing all coaches, full-time school staff members and current students to conduct recruiting calls (telephone calls and video calls) without a countable coach being present. This flexibility, proposed by the Football Oversight Committee, includes volunteer coaches in the Football Championship Subdivision. The Council plans to address similar flexibility for other sports at its December meeting.

The dead period extension was supported by the oversight committees for football, men’s basketball and women’s basketball. Members acknowledged that while Divisions II and III had loosened recruiting restrictions, Division I schools are managing active fall sport seasons, which is not the case at most schools in Divisions II and III.

The new restrictions come as the US hits new record highs of coronavirus cases, averaging over 160,000 daily over the last week The number of deaths and hospitalizations are also climbing and are now approaching the highs seen early in the pandemic in April and May.

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50enthusiast
5 days ago

What is the point of this?

Tupperware
Reply to  50enthusiast
5 days ago

The point is to stop high school athletes from visiting corona-dense college campuses.
Does it suck for the athletes in this position? Absolutely. Is it saving some athlete’s or coach’s lives? Probably

Last edited 5 days ago by Tupperware
mncoach
Reply to  Tupperware
5 days ago

Based on the death rates for for high school aged kids, to say that this decision is saving their lives is a pretty big stretch.

Tupperware
Reply to  mncoach
5 days ago

I added “coaches” in there for a reason.
Imagine U Texas doing their normal recruiting right now. Theyre pulling in kids from all over the country, and all of them would want to meet Eddie Reese, who happens to be 79 years old

mncoach
Reply to  Tupperware
5 days ago

Excellent point, however Eddie Reese and others are already on the “corona-dense college campuses” that you mentioned. To simply request that recruits present a negative COVID test prior to visiting would be and incredibly simple way to keep the risk of exposure to coaches at the same level its currently at.

HeadTimer
Reply to  mncoach
5 days ago

Seems to me they could also stay socially distanced. It’s not mandatory to shake hands, and recruits on “unofficial” visits are already finding ways to observe practice.

Guerra
Reply to  Tupperware
5 days ago

Eddie is probably the healthiest 79 year old on the planet. He would have a better chance of dying driving to practice than from Covid.

swimapologist
Reply to  Guerra
5 days ago

“The healthiest 79 year old on the planet” who had heart surgery in 2011?

And when he dies, y’all will say “no he didn’t die from COVID he died from his heart problems.”

https://swimswam.com/texas-coach-eddie-reese-on-the-mend-after-heart-surgery/

Guerra
Reply to  swimapologist
5 days ago

OK. My bad, I forgot about that, but, according to the CDC, he is still in the 99.4% range of surviving Covid. Just like all of us, Eddie should make his own choices on who he does and doesn’t interact with and make his own personal choices on the risk.

wolfensf
Reply to  Guerra
5 days ago

Except that a person’s own personal choice in this case can effect the health of another.

Swimmom
Reply to  Guerra
4 days ago

COVID deaths already exceeding car accident, stroke and suicide deaths combined this year.

Guerra
Reply to  Tupperware
5 days ago

They have more of a chance of dying on their way to a visit or from alcohol poisoning from a party than Covid.

Scoobysnak
Reply to  Guerra
5 days ago

Do you have nothing better to do than scour swimswam for COVID related articles and make misinformed comments?

Guerra
Reply to  Scoobysnak
5 days ago

I comment on a lot of things. Are you the Covid police? I’m going to live my life, wear a mask, and do what I want to do. If I get Covid, I’ll quarantine and stay away from people. Then I won’t have to worry about it any more. Not that I do now… You Coronabros are taking it way too far and just need to hide in your basement until this is all over.

SwimFan49
Reply to  Tupperware
5 days ago

The point of it was not to protect the HS athletes/recruits, per se, but to prevent the recruits from potentially infecting the college teams.

Last edited 5 days ago by SwimFan49
mncoach
Reply to  Braden Keith
5 days ago

Thanks for clarifying Braden, I didn’t think of it from that perspective. It’s a little telling, however, that their reasoning isn’t solely because they’re worried that the athletes might get sick, get hospitalized, and potentially die. If the only concern is that they could lose practice time, meets, and championships while being forced to quarantine, doesn’t it it just point more toward the fact that no one actually thinks the welfare of the athletes is in jeopardy?

swimfin5
5 days ago

Sad for all the recruits who have to make a choice without meeting the coaching staff, team or campus

Guerra
Reply to  swimfin5
5 days ago

My advice… Network with other swimmers and parents, have your coach talk to other coaches that have gone where you’re looking, and for God’s sake, STAY THE HELL OUT OF THE STATE OF ARIZONA!

Anonymous
Reply to  Guerra
5 days ago

The only point I think I will agree with Guerra on is to NETWORK! Sad for the swimmers who have club coaches that don’t allow questions or meeting other swimmers from the LSC and meets. My swimmer has a huge network of swimmers, coaches and officials they had the opportunity to interact with over the course of the past 12 years. Unfortunately I know coaches that do not allow this to occur, and I think the dead period is hampering their enjoyment of the sport and recruiting process.

Coach
Reply to  swimfin5
5 days ago

Definitely a loss of experience, but: 1) Depending on the school, they might still be able to do campus tours, just not meet with the staff in person. 2) They can definitely still meet with the coaching staff, just not in person. Is there something lost with Zoom meetings, phone calls, etc? Yes, but they are not making the decision completely blind. Bigger question is: Will the coaches still be there when they get there? Bigger yet: Will the program still be there? 3) If they are 2022 recruits making a decision any time soon (next 8-9 months), the team currently on campus will look vastly different than the team they are joining in Fall of 2022. Two whole classes… Read more »

Guerra
Reply to  Coach
5 days ago

Coach, you’re a smart and reasonable person and your swimmers are lucky to have you. Your post is excellent!

Anonymous
Reply to  Coach
5 days ago

Great points Coach! My swimmer has electronic communication with the commits and is definitely getting a feel for the personalities, as these will be their lifelong friends.

John
Reply to  swimfin5
5 days ago

My daughter and I are currently out west visiting schools. She is texting the coaches as we walk around each campus. No optimal but making the best of it.

Guerra
Reply to  John
5 days ago

Word to the wise and my public service announcement for all recruits… stay away from Arizona State and the University of Arizona! And I mean DANGER…DO NOT TOUCH!

Denny
Reply to  Guerra
4 days ago

Nope. I like Tucson

HeadTimer
5 days ago

Basically, this has let affluent swimmers and families totally game the process. Those that have the money are doing “unofficial” visits and still spending time with team members. We’ve all seen that there are even more verbal commitments than usual – no way this many kids are committing with 100% virtual interaction. Meanwhile, some teams are scrupulously observing the dead zone. Their potential recruits are left wondering if they’re missing out because other teams are barreling ahead and issuing what are essentially ultimatums. (If you commit by Friday, we’ll still have a spot on the team.) My kid got a text from one team saying they had completed their 2022 recruiting and good luck with your search; this was in… Read more »

International Love
Reply to  HeadTimer
5 days ago

Kids ARE committing without actually visiting campus. How do you think international kids have been making decisions for years?

HeadTimer
Reply to  International Love
5 days ago

OK, I can see that. But they are almost certainly the exception.

Ferb
Reply to  HeadTimer
5 days ago

What data are you basing this on?

HeadTimer
Reply to  Ferb
5 days ago

Out of the Top 100 males in the 2022 recruit class, approximately 25 have given verbal commitments. Only 2 of those are international; all the rest are from the US. (via college swimming.com)

Ferb
Reply to  HeadTimer
5 days ago

International swimmers are the exception, obviously, but your implication was that swimmers who commit based solely on virtual interaction are the exception. Do you have any basis for this?

A number of teams seem to be pushing for earlier commitments, with or without physical campus visits. Your claim of affluent families “gaming the system” is a baseless sour-grapes argument. I say that as a non-affluent parent of a recruited swimmer who just had a scheduled official visit changed to a virtual format, and who has a teammate who has already committed to a D1 program based purely on virtual interaction with the team & coaches.

HeadTimer
Reply to  Ferb
4 days ago

I meant that international swimmers – who commit without ever visiting – are the exception. Their numbers are small relative to US kids.

HeadTimer
Reply to  Ferb
4 days ago

In our state, 6 of the top 14 males from 2022 have verbally committed. I know for a fact that 4 of the 6 took unofficial visits. It is not a “sour grapes” argument. We are able to drive or fly to my swimmer’s favorite schools. But up until now – in a pandemic as well as a dead zone – it didn’t seem like the right thing to do. We will reassess in January.

SwimFan49
Reply to  HeadTimer
4 days ago

Sorry, but that doesn’t support your assertion that these kids are committing after having visited campuses and hanging out with team members. All you can take from citing the fact that 23 of the top 100 U.S. males have already committed is that …. 23 of the top 100 have committed. What’s your basis for the assertion that they have all paid their way to visit campuses on their own?

SwimFan49
Reply to  Braden Keith
4 days ago

Thanks, Braden, though I presume your data points are based on surveys of commits?

Also, by SwimSwam’s tally, how much further ahead are commitments this year versus last?

Ferb
Reply to  Braden Keith
4 days ago

I know of one personally, but I’m told it’s a “soft” commitment. I’m also told that the college team in question has only one spot remaining for the class entering Fall ’22 (excluding that swimmer), and they are still actively engaging with my child for what is presumably that final spot. Maybe the coaching staff is exaggerating the situation in order to try to “close” recruits. Braden, have you asked anyone how many in-person visits those commits made, or whether they already had their minds pretty much made up when they visited? I certainly understand them wanting to visit their top choice in person before making the final commitment, but that is a lot different than rich families “gaming the… Read more »

Last edited 4 days ago by Ferb
HeadTimer
Reply to  Ferb
4 days ago

I did not say any such thing about people stealing spots from other recruits. I did say that the dead zone isn’t dead – people who can travel unofficially are doing so, and that these folks have found other loopholes … which has been supported by the author of the article.

Ferb
Reply to  HeadTimer
4 days ago

Maybe just teach your kid to control the controllables, instead of whining that the families with more money are “gaming the process.”

HeadTimer
Reply to  Ferb
4 days ago

My kid is not sweating this one bit. I am, however. And you don’t seem to understand what I’m saying. It’s not that other families have more money or that we can’t go visit ourselves. We can, but we’ve chosen not to do it so far. That being said, there are clearly some that can’t, as shown in comments here.

HeadTimer
Reply to  Braden Keith
4 days ago

Thank you for corroborating.

SwimFan49
Reply to  HeadTimer
5 days ago

Can the reason for the early commitments be as much (or more) attributable to the fact that, without needing to coordinate on-campus visits, you simply crunch the timeline? In other words, last fall, the top kids in the ’21 class would have likely wanted to take their visits at their top choices before making a decision. That requires planning and scheduling and extra time. Fast forward to this fall and all of that planning and scheduling and time has been eliminated due to the dead period.

Anonymous
Reply to  HeadTimer
5 days ago

We are not affluent, but we did drive to visit schools when Admissions opened for tours this summer. Hours on Zoom calls with current students, admissions, financial aid, and coaches was to narrow down to top choices for a visit. We also used our extensive swim network to speak with swimmers of the top 3 teams. Stepping on campus for the tour and speaking with academic department personnel was the differentiator, as well as texting and facetiming the coach while we were there so my swimmer could see the facilities as if they were part of the tour. Most kids are going to school for an education and what they will get outside of the pool. I’ve heard a lot… Read more »

HeadTimer
Reply to  Anonymous
5 days ago

Appreciate this insight. It does seem like an in-person visit is important. (Unfortunately, 1 favorite is West Coast, the other two are East Coast. Makes it a bit more difficult.)

NC Fan
Reply to  HeadTimer
4 days ago

@HeadTimer By saying the some schools are ‘scrupulously’ observing the dead period, you’re implying that schools who don’t discourage swimmers from visiting campus aren’t being scrupulous. I totally disagree. Yes, it’s economically unfair just as the old system of permitting unlimited officials during freshman and sophomore year was unfair. But telling kids they can’t go check out a school is no more fair. As for in person meetings with coaches, businesses have adapted and are now doing $10M deals over Zoom which they never thought they could do and those aren’t the most video and social media savvy folks, especially when compared to GenZ. Nothing the Class of ‘22 is facing in the pool or school or socially is ‘fair’… Read more »

Please and thank you
Reply to  HeadTimer
4 days ago

Hunh, the college system is rigged for the wealthy. Who’d have thunk?

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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