(Updated for 2020) If you’re serious about playing college athletics, you need to understand how and when college coaches can start contacting you (officially) and when you can contact them. I remember sitting in the bleachers in April and listening to one parent’s angst that the baseball coach from a particular college hadn’t called them yet. The fact was that this was April of the player’s junior year–according to the NCAA recruiting periods and contact rules at the coach couldn’t call him until July.
It wasn’t necessarily the case that the college coach wasn’t interested but was just following the CONTACT RULES for Division 1 schools at the time. Parents and players can save themselves a lot of anguish, frustration, and disappointment if they just become familiar with the NCAA recruiting periods and contact rules for their sport.
Coaches can Contact Players Based on NCAA Recruiting Calendars
First, you need to learn some basic terminology. The NCAA defines five types of recruiting periods defining how and when college coaches can contact players.
This is pretty much what you would expect. During this time coaches can have face-to-face contact with athletes including visiting schools and watching competitions.
During this period, coaches can watch athletes compete, visit their high schools, and write or phone athletes. However, the coach can’t have any off-campus contact with the athletes.
The only face-to-face contact allowed during this time is on the college campus. Phone and email/letter contacts are allowed.
No face-to-face contact allowed on or off campus. Only calls, letters, and emails are allowed.
No recruiting, no way, no how. This means no contacts, evaluations, official or UNOFFICIAL visits, correspondences, making or RECEIVING telephone calls.
It Also Depends on Your Sport and Division
Now the fun part of all of these periods is that they vary by sport. For example, in men’s basketball, coaches can start calling players beginning June 15th after your sophomore year. However, coaches in women’s basketball can’t make calls until September 1 of your junior year. Check the First Opportunity for Recruiting Activity table for the most recent NCAA D1 changes.
In the 2019-20 school year, August 13th to 31st was a dead period for men’s D1 lacrosse, part of a contact and quite period for D1 baseball, and a recruiting shutdown and quiet period for women’s basketball. Furthermore, the calendars can change each year so you need to check the NCAA Recruiting Calendars each year.
While you definitely need to know the calendar and periods for your sport, keep in mind that the rules for players contacting coaches can be different. For Baseball, Football, and Men’s and Women’s Basketball, players can call coaches at any time even before their junior year except for the recruiting shutdown period. The coaches just can’t return missed phone calls which is why it’s a good idea to leave a message and when you might try to call again. And with the exception of dead periods and recruiting shutdowns, players can initiate face-to-face contact with coaches anytime on campus.
After reviewing the various calendars, players who really want to be recruited will realize that it’s in their best interest for them to contact coaches.
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