The NCAA Division I Council adopted new recruiting legislation on April 18, 2018. There has been a lot of conjecture out there over the past few days but it’s best to adhere to the facts and support our athletes with the goal of educating and guiding them within the confines of the new legislation.
Let’s begin with the proposals that have been passed, the rationale, some side notes and practical applications of the rules for Club Directors, Recruiting Coordinators and Coaches.
Intent: sports other than basketball and football, to specify that an unofficial visit with athletics department involvement (e.g. Contact with athletics department staff, athletics specific tour, complimentary admission shall not occur with an individual (or his or her relatives or legal guardians) before September 1 at the beginning of his or her junior year in high school.
Rationale: This proposal slows down the recruiting process and allows middle school students and freshman/sophomores in high school to focus on academics and athletic success. In addition, this proposal de-emphasizes the importance of unofficial visits, as it shortens the permissible window of time for these visits to occur. The proposal, in conjunction with the proposal to move the first permissible date for an official visit to the junior year, would result in a greater emphasis on the official visit as part of the recruiting process.
Side Note: this proposal is effective immediately and will be enforced by the NCAA Board meeting on April 25th, 2018. Any freshman/sophomore that has a scheduled unofficial visit prior to April 25th is able to complete that scheduled unofficial visit.
Practical Application for Clubs: Spend time educating freshman/sophomore PSA’s on building a target list of schools based upon their academic criteria, geographic preference and encouraging them to focus on improving their athletic abilities and knowledge of the game
Intent: In other sports other than basketball and football, to specify that an institution may provide an official visit to a prospective student-athlete beginning September 1 of the PSA’s junior year in high school.
Rationale: This proposal aligns the decision-making timeline of a prospective student-athlete with the decision-making timeline for any prospective college student. A prospective college student-athlete typically begins visiting institutions during his or her junior year of high school. In addition, this proposal increases the importance of official visits in the recruiting process. Finally, September 1 of a PSA’s junior year is also the first permissible date for telephone calls, written and electronic correspondence initiated by the institution.
Side Note: The effective date is August 1, 2018. Division I allows 5 official visits and what may occur is that ‘Official Visits will be in high demand by student-athletes but will only be offered to those student-athletes that are going to be offered by the prospective institution. Juniors will be allowed an unlimited number of unofficial visits at their own expense.
Practical Application: Personally, this is a tough one to put the label of ‘practical’ on as it basically allows the PSA to get on campus officially earlier and get their visit paid for by the institution, but does not ensure any guarantee of slowing down the process. A freshman or sophomore PSA will still be able to verbally commit prior to junior year. Regardless of the legislation, there will always be the young PSA that is ready to make that decision based upon their long-term goals. Keep in mind, historically this is a less than .1% of the athletes that commit at the Division I level.
While the intent to slow the process down for young athletes is valid, there still will be opportunities for freshman/sophomores to attend camps with the goal of getting to know the coaching staff, how they train and an opportunity to meet the players.
Below is an overview of what is allowed prior to September 1st of their junior year.
- Freshman/Sophomores WILL BE able to attend camps at any Division I school. Those camps will be open to any/all and can include facilities and campus tours for all attendees. NO recruiting conversations can take place at or around camps and tours (while the student-athlete is attending the camp and/or tour associated with the camp).
- In addition, the Freshman/Sophomores will be able to set up their own academic tours through admissions but cannot have contact with the athletic staff while on campus.
- Communication rules are unchanged and there are no restrictions in terms of limiting communications initiated by the prospective Freshmen & Sophomore student-athletes. They will still be able to initiate emails and the athletic staff will still be able to receive those calls and emails but as indicated earlier, the athletic staff cannot return phone calls or emails prior to September 1 of their junior year.
- College coaches will not be restricted in making athletic offers on a phone call and/or the athletic staff will still be able to communicate interest through club coaches, recruiting coordinators, club directors, and high school coaches. Third-party communication remains the same for the sport of volleyball.
As a Club Recruiting Coordinator, Director or Coach responsible for assisting your PSA’s with the recruiting process your goal should be on encouraging your student-athletes to stay focused on their academics and getting better in the gym…when that happens this ‘recruiting thing’ takes care of itself and naturally reduces the self-imposed pressures of committing before they are ready to regardless of age.
Whatever side of the fence you are on regarding the above legislation, set an example for the PSA’s and honor it, work within the confines of the rules and carry on…business as usual!
HERE is the complete list of bylaws adopted, defeated, etc)…many apply to the sport of volleyball and how colleges will recruit (shorter recruiting calendar, etc) and they will give you a perspective on all of the considerations the Division I Council reviewed legislatively this session.
Read more on the proposal from the NCAA HERE.
AVCA Recruiting Task Force member Tonya Johnson breaks down the new NCAA legislation on unofficial visits HERE.
AVCA Recruiting Task Force member Lyndsey Oats breaks down the new NCAA legislation on official visits HERE.
For related reading on the volleyball recruiting process click HERE.
About the Author
Patty Costlow is heading into her third year as the Recruiting Coordinator for Munciana Volleyball, a long time JVA member club located in Muncie, Indiana. She has been involved in the sport of volleyball at various levels for over 30 years (club coach, program director, program development, semi-pro beach and indoor player). Utilizing her 30+ years of experience in both playing and coaching/teaching the sport of volleyball, it was a natural progression for her to transition into the recruiting arena. Patty brings her passion for developing leaders and helping young athletes pursue their life goals to all aspects of her responsibilities as the Recruiting Coordinator for one of the top clubs in the country. She developed a comprehensive program for Munciana VBC and speaks on a national level to parents/athletes in regards to collegiate recruiting. In addition, Patty consults with volleyball clubs on building their recruiting programs. Patty is a mother of four and resides in Carmel, Indiana with her husband, Chris. She is a graduate of the University of Illinois.