Delaying Early Commitments: The modified NCAA Recruiting Rules
Updated: Dec 2, 2019
The NCAA Division I Management Council recently voted on a wide-ranging proposal regarding various aspects of the recruiting rules.
The NCAA has now created a phased-in recruiting approach that allows coaches to build relationships with recruits through phone calls and other types of communication before allowing campus 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 slightly earlier communication from Coaches 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 following rule changes are effective beginning May 1, 2019:
Incoming calls (from you to Coaches): permissible beginning June 15th after Sophomore Year
Outgoing calls (from Coaches to you): permissible beginning June 15th after Sophomore Year
Private Messaging (Email, DM, text): permissible beginning June 15th after Sophomore Year. Note: Recruits can still email, DM, text at anytime. Coaches just can’t reply back except to say “I can’t respond” before June 15th
Unofficial & Official Visits: permissible beginning August 1st of Junior Year regardless of weather you’ve started school or not
Off-Campus Contact: permissible beginning August 1st of Junior Year
Recruiting Materials: can be sent by Coaches to recruits beginning June 15th after Sophomore Year
Off-Campus Contact: A contact occurs any time a college coach says more than “hello” during a face-to-face contact with a college-bound student-athlete or his or her parents off the college campus
Official Visits: Any visit to a college campus by a recruit or his or her parents paid for by the college is an official visit.
Unofficial Visits: Visits to the school or university paid for by recruit or their parents are unofficial visits.
PSA: (Prospective Student-Athlete) - you are considered a "PSA" once you begin classes of your 9th grade year.
• The new rules do not entirely rule out the possibility of early commitments • Coaches will still hold Camps to evaluate talent • Teams without an assistant coach are now at a clear disadvantage because of the amount of leg-work a single Head Coach would have to do between Aug 1 and the start of their season • PSA’s Can still email, text and leave voicemails for Coaches at ANYTIME, Coaches just can’t answer or reply back except to say “I can not respond” prior to June 15th after Sophomore year
College Coach Quotes
“I think it is great that both PSA’s and coaches will be able to be in touch with each other at an earlier time than in the past. Establishing a mutual time for contact with PSA’s helps level the playing field and removes any gray area as to why a coach might not be able call a PSA back as not everyone in junior golf is aware of the prior rule. I also think being able to establish a relationship earlier will definitely help PSA’s and coaches make more informed decisions. The decision in itself is a huge commitment for both parties and the more informed everyone is the better.” – Richard Donegan, UCF, Asst. Coach
“Since these rules just came into play yesterday, it is too soon to pass judgment but I do understand the rationale. Too many young athletes were making major life decisions at an early age without enough information and in some cases, basing their decision on factors that are wholly unimportant. For instance, if a 9th grader commits to a school because he likes the players on the team when none of those players will be there when he enters college.
These changes were made to try and curb some of that and allow families to get to know the current coaches and players, learn everything there is to know about the program and make an informed, mature decision. Finally, theoretically, it should take pressure off young athletes trying to develop in their sport by pushing this decision process back and not being compelled to verbally commit at a young age. These rules allow them to make this decision when they are better equipped to do so.” – JT Higgins, Texas A&M, Head Coach
“Hopefully this new NCAA legislation will have the desired effect to eliminate early commitments and allow prospects to get to a point where they can take Official Visits and make a more informed decision.” – John Phillips, Virginia, Asst. Coach
”Most of these recruiting rule changes are minor and allows the coach to contact the recruit directly to set up a official or unofficial visit. Before it was done through an intermediary such as a swing coach or golf professional but now we are able to contact the recruit directly”
– Jeff Forbes, James Madison, Head Coach
Good luck on the recruiting trail!
Michael J. Smith
Mike Smith is the founder of ForeCollegeGolf, a college placement and recruiting business where he aims to apply his background in competitive golf and recruiting education to help educate players, their families and coaches about the college recruiting process.