The NCAA’s Division I Council has adopted changes to the recruiting calendar which will affect student-athletes in the college decision process moving forward. Beginning this year, college coaches will be permitted to communicate with potential recruits, and unofficial/official visits will be permitted several weeks earlier than previously allowed.
Most sports, including both men’s and women’s soccer, will be affected by the new rules. However, these changes will not apply to football, baseball, basketball, lacrosse or softball, and there will be a separate set of rules for men’s hockey.
Effective May 1, 2019, college coaches will be allowed to directly initiate recruiting-related discussions with potential recruits starting on June 15 at the end of the player’s sophomore year. This is two and a half months earlier than the previous date of September 1 for players entering their junior year.
Student-athletes will also now be able to make unofficial and official visits to campus a month earlier than previously allowed. Recruiting visits will now be allowed starting on August 1 for students entering their junior year of high school, instead of having to wait until September 1.
The rule that applies to most sports creates a phased-in recruiting approach that allows coaches to build relationships with prospective student-athletes through phone calls and other types of communication before allowing for visits and off-campus contact. Previously, coaches and players did not have a designated window of time to build a relationship prior to the window being open for campus visits.
Although these new rules actually allow for earlier communication and campus visits, the NCAA’s overall goal in this initiative is to curb early recruiting, especially for student-athletes in their freshman year of high school or younger. The early recruiting review was undertaken by a subcommittee of the Division I Student-Athlete Experience Committee, and the committee will continue to work on regulating verbal scholarship offers.
The recruiting proposals, which were originally introduced in Fall 2018, will become effective at the close of the Division I Board of Directors meeting May 1.