Senior ESPN writer Jeremy Crabtree fired off a series of tweets listing the “do’s and don’ts” of NCAA DI football spring recruiting. Spring is prime time for college coaches to offer scholarships to athletes, and these rules protect athletes from receiving too many messages, calls and DMs from coaches trying to get them to commit. Rest easy—the responsibility to comply with these spring recruiting regulations primarily falls on the shoulders of college coaches.
However, it’s still important for student-athletes and their families to know what they can and can’t do during this time. Plus, our pro tips can help you get an edge on your recruiting this spring.
You can go on unlimited unofficial college visits in the spring.
You and your family can travel to schools around the country to attend junior days or just experience a school’s campus. This is a great time to visit schools you’re interested in and narrow down your list. While you’re there, the coach can talk to you and your family about your academic interests and give you a campus tour. Schools can also extend formal scholarship offers to recruits at this point!
Pro tip: Recruits and schools can back away from commitments in the spring. You may get a scholarship offer—only to have the school back out. Don’t forget: You too can back away from commitments in the spring, but we don’t necessarily recommend it.
Coaches can contact you via email and social media but not by texting during the spring recruiting period.
Coaches will be particularly active on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram during the spring. Another reason to check your social media accounts? That doesn’t sound so bad. Coaches can also call you—but just one time. This one call is typically for answering specific questions that are difficult to communicate over social media.
Pro tip: Throughout the year—including the spring—athletes can always call coaches. The rules only dictate when coaches can call recruits. If the coach has already used up his one call, he can’t call you back in response to a voicemail message you left him. He can, however, pick up the phone if you call him back at a more convenient time. Hint, hint.
Coaches can visit a recruit’s high school twice between April 15-May 31.
Coaches are allowed two visits to a recruit’s high school for the “spring evaluation process.” Typically, coaches will visit once to check out your athletic ability and once to assess academic qualifications during the spring recruiting period. They can watch you play a game or practice as part of the athletic assessment. However, they are not allowed to attend non-scholastic athletic events, or athletic events that don’t take place at your high school. Camps, combines and 7-on-7 tournaments fall in the “no go” zone.
Pro tip: Coaches can “bump into” athletes during high school visits. A tricky way around the rules, coaches will casually say “hi” to athletes while visiting their school. A quick conversation is permitted, but lengthy conversations are not. This is called the “bump rule.”