Contributor, Rick Paine, is an expert on college swimming and the college recruiting process. He is also the Director of Swimming at American College Connection (ACC). ACC is a SwimSwam Partner.
Early signing period:
When: November 12-19
What: swimmers can sign a National Letter of Intent which is their binding agreement to attend a particular school. Coaches will provide scholarship papers for the swimmers and their parents to sign. A recruit cannot sign a National Letter of Intent unless there is some form of athletic scholarship. A book scholarship is the minimum.
A recruit must sign the NLI and scholarship papers between the 12th and 19th and has 14 days to get the signed forms back to the coach.
Coaches are not allowed to meet recruits face to face from 8am Monday November 10 through 8am Friday November 14. The dead period for the regular signing period is 8am April 13 through 8am April 17.
When: September 1 of your senior year through August 1 except during a dead period.
What: A visit becomes official if the school pays for anything other than a ticket to an on campus event. If they buy you a hot dog it becomes an official visit. Due to budgetary cutbacks many school don’t have the money to pay for the entire trip and will ask you to pay for your transportation to and from campus. The schools will usually pick up the tab for room and board while you are there.
Your parents may come with you on an official visit and schools are allowed to pay for their room and board while they are there. This depends on a schools recruiting budget.
Limits: recruits are allowed to take official visits to 5 different Division I schools
New Rule: official visits to Division II schools are unlimited.
There are no official visits to Division III schools.
Official visits to NAIA schools are unlimited.
Tip: don’t assume that a school will pay for everything on an official visit. You need to ask.
When: anytime except during a dead period.
What: unofficial visits are unlimited as long as you pay for everything on your trip. A school can provide tickets to an on-campus event while you are there. You are allowed to spend the night with the team, but you will have to pay the going rate for the dorm room or motel.
Tip: let the coach know well in advance that you are coming to campus
Regular Signing Period:
When: April 15 through August 1
What: you can give your verbal commitment to attend a school at any time and the coach can give you a verbal commitment for a scholarship offer or a spot on the team at any time.
Verbals are not binding, but rarely do the coaches renege on their scholarship offers. Usually it’s the recruit who backs out. If you give your word to a coach you should honor it.
Pay attention to admission deadlines as they vary from school to school.
Finding out if you have what it takes to compete in swimming at the college level is easy, and many swimmers do have the potential considering all of the options. Go to www.ACCrecruits and submit a Free Profile.
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Courtesy of ACC, a SwimSwam partner.