Knowing the NCAA rules and regulations will not only help you navigate the process better but it will also show a coach that you are serious and prepared. Keep in mind, a student-athlete can always make phone calls, send emails and take unofficial visits at any point as long as it is on their own time and money. These rules below are in regards to when and what coaches are allowed to initiate themselves. Similar to the Rules of Golf there are many different variations and interpretations of the rules. If you aren’t sure of the rules you can contact the NCAA Eligibility Center if you have any questions.
Dates to Know:
September 1st of Junior Year: Division I coaches may send recruiting materials/emails to recruits. New Update: As of August 1, 2014, coaches may also make phone calls, send texts and use any other electronic communication to contact a prospective student-athlete (June 15th after sophomore year for DII). Prior to these dates, coaches may only send general questionnaires. They can not reply to emails or return phone calls.
July 1 after Junior Year: Coaches may make off-campus contact with recruits and their parents but they are limited to 3 total contacts during senior year. (June 15th after sophomore year for DII). Prior to these dates, coaches are not allowed to speak with recruits or parents off campus (to include tournaments).
First day of Senior Year: Recruits are allowed to take official visits. Only one visit per school and no more than 5 total visits to all institutions. Prior to this date, recruits and parents may take unofficial visits but it is at their own expense.
Early Signing Period for 2016-2017 Academic Year: November 9-16, 2016
Regular Signing Period for 2015-2016 Academic Year: April 12-August 1, 2017
Dead Periods: November 5-8, 2016 and April 8-11, 2017
Terms to Know:
Contact – Anytime a coach has face to face contact and says more than hello to you or your parents off the college’s campus. This includes at tournaments, competitions, practice and your high school. A coach is only allowed 3 contacts after July 1 of junior year. No contact is allowed before July 1.
Dead Period – A college coach may not have face-to-face contact with recruits or their parents, and may not watch student-athletes compete or visit their high schools (evaluate). Coaches may write and call recruits or their parents during a dead period.
Evaluation – A coach evaluating a prospective student athlete’s athletic or academic abilities off campus. This includes visiting the student athlete’s school or watching them participate in practice or competition. A coach is allowed 7 total recruiting opportunities during the academic year, no more than 3 can be a contact.
NCAA Eligibility Center – site where you register to determine your NCAA eligibility to play collegiate athletics, you should register by your junior year in order to ensure you are on the right track to complete your requirements
NLI (National Letter of Intent) – An agreement signed by the student-athlete, parent, or guardian and the institution’s athletic director that states the student athlete’s commitment to attend the institution for one full academic year in return the institution agrees to provide athletic financial aid for one full academic year.
Official visit – A visit to campus that is paid for by the institution. You are allowed 5 total official visits, only one per institution. You must provide your high school transcript and either SAT, ACT, PSAT or ACT and be registered with the NCAA Eligibility Center.
Unofficial visit – A visit that is taken to a college or university that is paid for by the student-athlete or their parents. You are allowed 3 complimentary tickets to a home sporting event. You may take as many unofficial visits as you would like and at any time.
Verbal commitment – A student athlete’s commitment to a school before an NLI is signed. You may make a verbal commitment at any time. It is not legally binding on either end but is extremely frowned upon when the commitment is broken.