Collegiate Recruiting Changes for 2019

The NCAA has adopted new recruiting rules for NCAA DI schools effective May 1, 2019. These new rules put limits on the communication between a recruit and a college coach before the end of their sophomore year of high school. These rules are designed to stop the growth of early recruiting and give student-athletes the opportunity to make a more informed decision on their college of choice.

What sports are impacted?

All NCAA DI sports except Football, Baseball, Softball, M/W Lacrosse, and M/W Basketball.

What are the new NCAA DI rules?

  • No “communication with a coach” until June 15 of sophomore year
  • No Official or Unofficial visits until August 1 of junior year
  • No “Recruiting Conversations” or Verbal Offers until June 15 of sophomore year

What is considered “communication with a coach?”

The new rules prevent any communication between a student-athlete or parent/guardian and a DI college coach before June 15 of sophomore year. “Communication with a coach” includes any phone, text, or email conversations between a student-athlete or parent/guardian and a DI college coach.

Previously, coaches were prohibited from initiating contact with a recruit. However, if an athlete called a coach, the coach could pick up the phone. That is no longer allowed. There is zero off-campus communication allowed between a coach and a recruit before June 15 of an athlete’s sophomore year.

What are “Recruiting Conversations?”

College coaches are restricted from making verbal offers to an athlete before June 15 of sophomore year. Coaches are not allowed to have any recruiting conversation with a student-athlete or parent/guardian. They can’t make a verbal offer, hint at a scholarship, or help with admissions or other forms of financial aid.

These conversations are also not allowed between college coaches and an athlete’s high school or club coach. College coaches will be allowed to discuss freshman or sophomore recruits with the club and high school coaches. Still, those conversations are limited to whether the coach is interested in recruiting them. College coaches cannot make unofficial offers or discuss support in admissions or any other form of financial aid with a club or high school coach.

Why did the rules change?

These rules are part of a continued focus from the NCAA to curb early recruiting. These specific changes are made to give student-athletes a similar timeline to non-student-athletes during the process of identifying and evaluating potential colleges.

When do I need to start the recruiting process?

Despite NCAA rules, the recruiting process does not start when coaches can begin contacting recruits. Taking the right classes, making sure you have the film (for most sports), and researching the schools are all things you should be doing well before you start “communicating with a coach.”

As we see on NCSA’s platform every day, college coaches begin looking at athletes as early as freshman year. Even if coaches can’t contact these recruits, they are going to look at their videos and grades and potentially reach out to their coaches to make sure the student-athlete is one they want to recruit. While the NCAA rules suggest the recruiting process starts later, there are several things an athlete can do to be proactive and get a head start.

How will these rules impact me?

The impact of the new rules on you depends on your sport and what the previous recruiting practices entail. In sports like track & field, swimming, and wrestling, where the majority of recruiting was already happening in junior year, and later, these changes will speed up the recruiting process. According to the NCAA’s research, over 80% of the student-athletes in these sports didn’t even get a verbal offer until senior year. In sports like soccer and volleyball, where early recruiting is more common, the impact will be harder to predict. While direct conversations about recruiting are now prohibited, it is unlikely that recruiting will stop altogether.

Here is a breakdown of how these changes will impact each sport (numbers quoted from NCAA research):

  • M Soccer – 76% of Men’s Soccer recruiting conversations start sophomore or junior year. The recruiting process will increase the recruiting timeline.
  • W Soccer – Women’s Soccer recruiting starts very early, with 78% of student-athletes reporting their first recruiting contact sophomore year or earlier. While direct recruiting and early offers will stop, coaches will still be looking for ways to evaluate student-athletes and make their interest known.

What if I have verbally committed before my junior year?

For prospects who have already been in touch with DI coaches, those communications will have to stop until June 15 of the prospect’s sophomore year. If you were fortunate enough to have been offered a scholarship and made a verbal commitment, you will no longer be able to discuss that offer with the coach. As always, verbal offers are still unofficial until the beginning of the signing period

You must be aware of these changes so you can keep your student-athlete protected from having their eligibility possibly affected.  I am hopeful that this will help you in staying on top of the ever-changing world of collegiate athletics and has been a help to you.

I look forward to seeing all our BRSC athletes who want to get to the next level and have a terrific collegiate experience. Below is the breakdown of the rules in an easy to see format.