Early Recruiting Talk
The topic of Early Recruiting was front and center at the 2018 NCAA Convention, held in Indianapolis, IN from January 16-20. While no official legislation has been passed, it is clear the growing concern of 8th and 9th graders verbally committing to a school is shared amongst current collegiate student-athletes and NCAA committee members.
Three Potential Changes
At the convention, the Student-Athlete Experience Committee officially endorsed three key changes to the recruiting calendar for student-athletes.
These three changes, if approved by the Division I Council, include:
1. Unofficial Visits
Unofficial visits would not be allowed until Sept. 1st of a student-athlete’s junior year. Currently, there is no restriction on unofficial visits. The intent here is to push back the date for a potential recruiting-related visit to a time where the student-athletes and universities can make a more accurate academic and athletic projection of fit for a school.
2. Official Visits
Official visits would be moved up to Sept. 1st of the student-athlete’s junior year. Currently, official visits cannot occur until Sept. 1st of the senior year, and are often made after a verbal commitment. The intent is to make official visits an insightful piece of a student-athlete’s decision-making process.
3. Athletic Camp or Clinic
A coach or school would not be allowed to engage in recruiting-related conversations with student-athletes at a camp, clinic, or prospect day until Sept. 1st of the student-athlete’s junior year. Additionally, all participating student-athletes must be given a uniform camp/clinic experience (i.e. Coaches cannot pull specific prospects aside for extra evaluation or recruiting conversations during the camp).
The Division I Council could vote on these proposals as early as April. The legislation could have an immediate start date.
According to an NCAA press release, the Student-Athlete Experience Committee is working through its effort to combat early recruiting in three phases:
■ For the 2017-18 legislative cycle the focus is on official and unofficial visits, as seen by the amendments above.
■ The 2018-2019 cycle will review communication and offers of aid portions.
■ And beyond 2019, the committee will focus on tryouts, evaluations, camps and clinics, and contacts.
Things to Note
■ The NCAA does not recognize verbal commitments. A legally binding agreement of commitment between a student-athlete and a school only occurs when a National Letter of Intent (NLI) is signed.
■ The above amendments apply to Division I only.
■ The above amendments apply to all sports except men’s and women’s basketball and football, which are governed by different committees.
About the Author
Chris Ruhl is one of the Insights Analyst at SportsRecruits. Chris’ experience as a former football student-athlete and graduate assistant in the athletic compliance office at Lehigh University has driven his passion for helping student-athletes better navigate and understand the recruiting process.