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).

Important Details

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

sportsrecruits-insights-analystChris 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.