The NCAA’s new Division I recruiting rules are officially in effect. After moving up the start date for DI campus visits last year, the NCAA has adopted additional rules to curb the growth of early recruiting and normalize the college search for student-athletes. The biggest change is that these new rules limit the timing and nature of communication between college coaches and athletes.

Here are the three updates to recruiting rules:

  • Zero communication with a coach until June 15 after sophomore year.
  • No official visits, unofficial visits or off-campus contact until August 1 before junior year.
  • No recruiting conversations or verbal offers until June 15 after sophomore year.

In order to help coaches, club recruiting coordinators and parents guide prospective student athletes through the recruiting process, here are answers to some common questions that may come up while navigating the new rules.

What does coach communication include?

Any phone, text, email or social media communication between a student-athlete or parent/guardian and a DI college coach. In the past, coaches could talk with any athlete as long as the athlete initiated the phone call. But with the new rule, this loophole is no longer allowed. Until June 15 after your sophomore year of high school, you can’t engage in any communication with a DI volleyball coach outside of their campus.

What do official and unofficial visits include?

Any visit to a college campus that is financed by the school or any visit paid for by the family that includes a recruiting conversation with the coaching staff. You can still check out a campus before August 1 of junior year, but you can’t talk about recruiting with the coach.

What are recruiting conversations?

College volleyball coaches are no longer allowed to make verbal offers, hints at scholarship opportunities, offer assistance with the admission process/financial aid or engage in any other conversation that relates to the recruiting process until June 15 after sophomore year. Until this date, college coaches can discuss you with your club or high school coach and communicate their interest in recruiting you. However, they can’t make any suggestions about an offer or inquire about your interest in committing to their college.

How do the new D1 rules impact the other division levels?

The new rules don’t directly change the recruiting timeline for DII, DIII, NAIA or Junior College schools. However, DI recruiting behavior can have a ripple effect. Coaches at the other levels often wait for DI coaches to fill up their recruiting classes before making offers to prospects. This allows them to get commitments from talented recruits who just missed out on the DI level for one reason or another. 

How do these rule changes impact your recruiting process?

These rules give you more time to get to know college coaches and check out a few schools before you commit. But keep in mind—coaches are usually looking to make scholarship offers as soon as they can. Here are a few ways to get your ducks in a row ahead of time:

  • Take the ACT/SAT early.
  • Create an NCAA Eligibility Center Account—you need this certificate before you take an official visit to a D1 or D2 school.
  • Compile a list of recruiting questions for the coach.
  • Discuss the possibility of receiving a scholarship offer with your parents.

Looking for more recruiting answers? Make sure to check out NCSA’s College Recruiting Guide before setting up your online recruiting profile.

For related reading on the volleyball recruiting process click HERE.  For more information for Club Directors and Coaches on the recruiting process click HERE.

About the Author

Matt Sonnichsen is the Director of Volleyball and National Speaker for Next College Student Athlete (NCSA), the Official Recruiting Services provider of the JVA. NCSA assists JVA Club Directors and Coaches with guiding their athletes through the recruiting process. Matt has over 20 years of experience coaching volleyball at the collegiate level. Read more about NCSA.