Today is the day, September 1st of many athletes’ junior year is finally here. A day that took on a whole new meaning when the NCAA passed a monumental change to the recruiting rules back in April prohibiting any contact with prospective student athletes prior to September 1st of their junior year.
Here is the gist surrounding that September 1 date from NCSA:
What are the new recruiting rules? – NCSA
The new recruiting rules essentially push back the dates that coaches can talk about recruiting to athletes in person. Here’s a list of all the new changes:
- Official visits: Recruits can now start taking official visits starting September 1 of their junior year of high school. In the past, official visits weren’t permitted until the athlete’s senior year of high school, so this rule is actually bumping them up!
- Camps: Recruits and college coaches are not allowed to have any recruiting conversations during camps prior to September 1 of the athlete’s junior year of high school. Previously, there weren’t really any rules that prevented coaches from talking about recruiting to underclassmen during camps. In fact, it had become common practice for college coaches to extend verbal scholarship offers to top recruits during camps.
- Unofficial visits: Division 1 college athletic departments—this includes college coaches—are not allowed to be involved in a recruit’s unofficial visits until after September 1 of their junior year. Quick refresher: Unofficial visits are any campus visits paid for entirely by the recruit’s family. Before the rule change, unofficial visits were an easy way for underclassmen to visit a college camps, meet with the coach and get an early verbal offer. Under the new rules, if athletes want to take unofficial visits, they cannot schedule them with the coach until September 1 junior year—they should treat the unofficial visit just like any other student would. If the recruit happens to bump into the coach on campus, they can’t have any recruiting conversations at that time.
- D1 softball only: Softball took the new rules to the next level by making it illegal for college coaches to talk to recruits before September 1 of their junior year, even if the athlete initiates the contact. In addition, a club or high school softball coach is no longer allowed to discuss their athletes recruiting with a Division 1 college softball coach before September 1 of that athlete’s junior year.
This time last year we went over a Recruiting Action Plan. Although there are several changes, particularly surrounding communication, it does not mean you wait to begin the process. As a matter of fact, doing your research, making lists, and your overall knowledge of the process is even more important now so you are best prepared for when communication can begin.
You can still email coaches and express interest by attending camps but no recruiting conversations are allowed to take place. The hope is that this new set of rules dramatically slows down the pace of recruiting so athletes, parents, and coaches can enjoy a smoother, more transparent process, and make the best decision possible. This is great news for everyone.