The NCAA continues to hammer away at an overhaul of their recruiting rules, and the latest proposals by the Rules Working Group excludes swimming from a major change.
According to a release by Michelle Brutlag Hosick on NCAA.org, the rules changes would:
- Lift all restrictions in ALL SPORTS on methods and modes of communication, with the driver being the new forms of electronic communication now available.
- Continue to limit recruiting materials to general and electronic correspondence, as compared to personalized materials or those specifically for recruiting purposes, but eliminate some of the esoteric restrictions, such as the color of the ink.
- Allow recruiting communications to start Sept. 1 of a recruit’s junior year, with the exception of a few sports, including swimming.
This last one will cause a big sigh of relief to collegiate swimming coaches around the country, as swimming is one of 6 sports programs excluded from that proposal by the working group. According to the release, coaches “did not support” the change, and preferred to maintain the current July-1st-after-junior-year opening.
Note: the other 5 excluded are basketball, football, and men’s ice hockey, where they’re already working on this change in separate legislation, with cross country and track & field standing firm with swimming on pushing back on the change.
In the case of hockey, who does want an earlier recruiting date, the rule made sense: they are competing against “junior leagues” in Canada and the U.S., which is an alternate rout to the professional game. What’s more, in three of these leagues specifically, the Quebec, Ontario, and Western Leagues, the NCAA considers players to be “professionals”. Those junior leagues begin predominantly at the age of 16, so are often convinced by the time NCAA coaches are able to speak with them.
In swimming, with no such serious competing interests, coaches we heard from by-and-large preferred the current system where they could focus most of their efforts on a single recruiting class, the incoming seniors, rather than divide it among two at the same time with limited resources.