In early October 2017, the NCAA council introduced an early recruiting proposal that would re-align recruiting dates in order to help athletes make better decisions for their future. As it stands today, an athlete can make a visit to a school, benefit from athletic department perks, and verbally commit to their “dream” college all before stepping foot on their high school campus. I’d say most everyone you ask would find this to be wrong that is, until they are the ones faced with the decision. The college coach doesn’t want to lose the athlete and the athlete doesn’t want to miss out on the opportunity. This is a perpetual cycle driven by competition, and maybe a little ego as well. Everyone wants it to stop but nobody wants to take a stand for fear that they’ll be passed up. The NCAA has finally taken that stand. If this legislation passes it would put an end to seventh, eighth, and ninth grade verbal commitments in most sports, including softball.
A few of these changes would include:
1) Moving the date for official visits up to July 1st of the athletes junior year (previously first day of their Senior year) which would coincide with the first day of recruiting phone calls and written correspondence.
2) Prohibiting recruiting conversations with prospects at a camp or clinic until Sept. 1 of their sophomore year.
Last week Softball Nation put out an article with a more in depth description of what this change could mean for the coach and the athlete. To read the full article click here.
Is this going to put an end to all early recruiting issues? Of course not, but I can tell you this, those in the thick of today’s recruiting world will either love this or hate it. However, it better serves the interest of the athlete and will level the playing field a bit more for both college coaches and prospects.