The NCAA adopted new rules this week aimed at reducing early recruiting – but the rules will actually allow slightly earlier official visits, causing the CSCAA to unsuccessfully request an exemption for swimming & diving.
The NCAA’s Division I council adopted the rules this week, and they’ll become effective as of May 1, when the Division I Board of Directors meeting closes. The proposal allows communication between coaches and recruits starting on June 15 after the athlete’s sophomore year of high school. Official visits could be taken a month and a half later, starting on August 1 before the prospect’s junior year of high school.
On the other hand, it does restrict coaches from accepting phone calls from recruits until June 15th after their sophomore year. In the past, recruits could call coaches and coaches could accept the call at any time – they just couldn’t initiate contact themselves.
The result doesn’t move up existing dates too drastically, but does push the start of recruiting firmly into the summer after a prospect’s sophomore year, rather than the fall of their junior year of high school.
This marks the second year in a row that the NCAA has adjusted its recruiting rules to address early recruiting. Here’s a quick look at the changes in key dates across the last two years of rule changes:
|Previous rules||April 2018 rule changes||April 2019 rule changes|
|Recruiting communication opens||July 1 after junior year||July 1 after junior year||
June 15 after sophomore year
|Official visits allowed||First day of classes during senior year||Sept. 1 of junior year||
August 1 after sophomore year
While the NCAA framed its new rule changes as being designed to “curb early recruiting,” the College Swimming & Diving Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) says the new rules will have the opposite effect for swimming & diving.
“We applaud the Student Athlete Experience Committee’s (SAEC) efforts to rein in early recruiting, but proposal 2018-93 does so at the expense of sports doing it well,” said CSCAA executive director Greg Earhart in the organization’s public call for swimming & diving to be exempted from the new rule proposal. “Unfortunately, for sports like swimming and diving, it moves the starting line even earlier.”
The proposal passed this week and swimming & diving was not exempted. Earhart says the CSCAA is working on a new recruiting model for the NCAA’s 2019 legislative process. He says 95% of CSCAA member swim & dive coaches oppose the new recruiting rules.
The NCAA did note that men’s ice hockey was provided with its own separate recruiting timeline, which allows even earlier recruiting: recruiting contact can begin Jan. 1 of a student’s sophomore year with visits still beginning Aug. 1 after the sophomore year. The separate timeline is to allow athletes to make more informed decisions between college hockey and the professional opportunities available in the sport.
Basketball, football, lacrosse and softball are also not included in the new rules after already changing their recruiting rules in recent years.