A key NCAA Committee has changed its recommendation, now urging a ban on recruiting contact until a student-athlete’s junior year of high school. The previous recommendation would have allowed the first recruiting contact in their sophomore year.
The new recommendation came from the NCAA Division I Student-Athlete Experience Committee in a January meeting. The NCAA said the committee recommended the changes after considering feedback from NCAA surveys in the fall of 2017 from student-athletes, conferences, coaches associations, governing bodies and other athletic associations. This matches the recommendation from the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) released just before that meeting.
“What I’ve appreciated about this process is we have got a room full of people who are very interested in bettering the student-athlete experience,” said Justin Sell, chair of the committee and athletics director at South Dakota State. He also said the changes were designed to strike the right balance, allowing prospective student-athletes time and opportunity to evaluate schools and choose a program that meets their academic and athletic goals.
If the Division I Council adopts the recommendations, the proposal will look like this according to the NCAA:
- Unofficial visits, which now have no restrictions on their dates for most sports, would not be permitted until Sept. 1 of prospective student-athletes’ junior year. This change aims to encourage the decision-making process for both prospective student-athletes and colleges and universities to occur at a time when academic and athletic preparedness can be more accurately considered.
- A coach or school would not be able to engage in recruiting conversations with a prospective student-athlete at an athletic camp or clinic until Sept. 1 of the student’s junior year in high school. Additionally, the committee noted all participating athletes should have a uniform camp or clinic experience, and coaches should not be able to pull aside prospects for recruiting conversations or activities until their junior year in high school.
- Official visits, now prohibited until prospective student-athletes’ senior year of high school, would be allowed to begin Sept. 1 in their junior year. Today, these visits are often made after a student already has committed to a particular school, preventing the official visit from being part of the decision-making process. The change aims to emphasize the official visit in the recruiting process and better align them with the timing of visits taken by the general student body.
The Division I council will meet in April and is expected to vote on the matter. The NCAA did not mention whether there were proposed changes for the rules to take effect immediately or with the original proposal of September 1 of 2018.