Everything to Know about Official Visits

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If an institution pays for any part of a visit, it is considered an official visit. Typically the school will pay for travel, housing, meals and some entertainment costs.

  • The school is allowed to pay for lodging, transportation, meals, and entertainment. That includes (1) round-trip transportation (rental car or airfare) for the student-athlete between home (or high school) and the campus, (2) you (and your parents) may receive 3 meals per day and (3) complimentary admissions to campus athletics events.
  • Official visits cannot be made until the opening day of class senior year, no matter what division. The date will vary depending on your school.
  • The NCAA allows 5 visits to D1 and D2 schools combined.
  • You may only take ONE official visit per institution, no matter the division.
  • Each official visit may be up to 48 hrs.
  • The NCAA allows each school (DI, DII, and DIII) to offer official visits, but each school differs in policy and budget.
  • Official visits are not allowed during dead periods.
  • You are allowed an unlimited number of official visits to NAIA & D3 schools.

Who takes official visits?

Coaches usually offer official visits to their top recruits. You must be invited on an official visit by a coach; you cannot invite yourself on one.

How many official visits can a coach offer?

The number of official visits a college or team can offer depends on their budget each year. Division I schools usually can afford the most official visits, followed by Division II schools. NAIA and Division III colleges usually do not offer paid official visits, even though they are allowed to offer them.

How many official visits am I allowed to take?

Per NCAA rules, you are allowed to take no more than five official visits to Division I and/or Division II schools and you can only take one visit, per school. There is no limit on the number of official visits you can take at the Division III and NAIA levels, but you can only take one visit per school.

When can I take my first official visit?

You may begin to take official visits starting the opening day of classes, in your senior year of high school. You must also be registered with the NCAA Eligibility Center before you will be able to start taking official visits.

What does it mean if a coach offers me an official visit?

If a coach offers you an official visit, you are most likely very high on their list of recruits. Official visits are typically reserved for top recruits. If a coach does not offer you an official visit (especially at the Division I or II levels), you are most likely not very high on their recruiting list and you should look into other options.

How do I set up an official visit?

Coaches will usually extend an official visit offer during a phone conversation with you, but you do not have to wait for them to make the first move. It is okay to be upfront with the coach and ask him/her if they plan to offer you an official visit. Tell them that you are in the process of scheduling your official visits and you would like to know so you can plan accordingly. This will also show the coach that you are being seriously recruited at other places.

How do I know if a coach is offering an official visit vs. an unofficial visit?

Usually the coach will specify what type of visit they are offering you. If they don’t specify and they asked you to visit during your senior year, you should always ask them to clarify what type of visit it is.

Are there any common questions a coach may ask during an official visit?

Here are some common questions a coach may ask during your official visit:

What other schools are recruiting you?

Be honest and if possible, list colleges that are comparable to, rivals with, or better than the institution you are visiting. This will make them want to fight for you more!

What colleges will you visit?

Be honest and name any schools you have visited officially or unofficially. If this is the first college you have visited state that you are in the process of scheduling the rest of your visits.

When can you commit?

If you are visiting your number one choice and feel comfortable committing, go for it! If you have other visits pending or feel you need more time, tell the coach you want to take your other official visits, just to make sure you make an educated decision. Ask the coach, “How long does your offer stand for?” and “When do I have to make my decision by?” You can also explain to the coach that you need to discuss the offer with your parents, which can buy you some more time.

Will coaches be evaluating me during a visit?

Yes! Just because you are offered a visit, does not necessarily mean you will receive a scholarship offer or even a spot on the team. The coaching staff already has identified you as a top prospect, but the visit gives them an opportunity to judge your personality, lifestyle and character. Usually, coaches will make an effort to match recruits up with team members who have similar personalities and lifestyles. Be yourself, but remember, coaches are looking for young men and women who will be a positive asset to their university and team and who get along well with others. At some point during or after your visit, the coaches will probably ask your host about you, so always be courteous, positive and respectful.

Is there anything in particular that I should pay attention to while on my visit?

Make it a priority to get a good feel for the college as a whole. You need to evaluate the campus, the students, your prospective teammates and the coaches. Ask yourself, “Is this a place where I can see myself being comfortable and happy, for four years, even if I could not play my sport?”

Will I be offered a scholarship?

Sometimes coaches make offers during a visit, but this is not always the case. If a coach does not bring it up, it is okay to ask if you are being considered for a scholarship or if there are any academic scholarships you should look into.

Are student-athletes allowed to tryout or practice with the team?

As an NCAA rule, Division I and Division III schools do not allow tryouts. On an official or unofficial visit, you may participate in workouts that are not organized or observed by the coaching staff. Typically, the workout will be lead by the team’s captains and they must not be designed to test your athletic ability. Division II and NAIA schools are allowed to conduct one tryout, in the off-season of your sport, during your senior year.

Are there any times when visits are not allowed?

Yes. There are Dead Periods in which it is not permissible to make in-person recruiting contacts or evaluations on or off campus. Dead periods generally fall right before the signing periods.

Think you have what it takes to play sports at the next level? Click here to create a recruiting profile in the NCSA Network and get the opportunity to connect with college coaches across the country , or call 866-579-6272 to speak to an NCAA-certified recruiting expert.

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