Coach communications guidelines vary according to the level of competition and by specific sport. The NCAA strictly regulates the recruiting process and dictates when and how college coaches can approach you.
When will I start hearing from coaches?
You won’t see any official “recruiting materials” from NCAA Division I and II schools in the mail before the summer of your junior year. And that’s because coaches at these levels can’t send specific recruiting literature until then. (Note: Division III and NAIA coaches can sent recruiting materials at any time in high school.)
But that doesn’t mean the recruiting process doesn’t start until junior year. Coaches can send you the following at any time in high school:
- Camp brochures
- General college information from the admissions department
Can I contact coaches at schools that I’m interested in?
Absolutely, and you definitely should.
In most sports phone calls are limited and coaches can’t start making them until after your junior year (basketball and football and major exceptions and allow some calls during your junior year). Coaches are regulated, but there’s no limit on how many calls you can make to coaches as long as those calls are at your own expense. Take advantage of this and establish communication with coaches early and often.
Emails and Letters
Communication with coaches by emails or printed letters can certainly put you on their radar. Try not to send the same generic email/letter to each coach. Make the correspondence specific. Mention something about the college that you like, or congratulate a coach on a big win. Personalized contact might just set you apart from others.
Also, make sure you close every email or letter with a professional signature. Include your name, address, email, cell number, and NCSA recruiting profile link.
What about text messages?
A new rule adopted by the NCAA allows recruit/coach communications via text message only for Division I men’s basketball recruits. It’s likely that the NCAA may relax text messaging rules for other sports in the near future.
Coach Communications Guidelines
Below is a brief overview of NCAA rules for communications with college coaches. For in-depth recruiting rules download the most recent NCAA Guide for the College-Bound Student-Athlete
NCAA Division I
- Coaches start sending recruiting materials on September 1 of your junior year (except in men’s basketball and men’s hockey where coaches can begin sending printed materials on June 15 after your sophomore year).
- You can call coaches any time you want but in most sports they cannot call you until you are a junior (calls can start June 15 after your sophomore year if you’re a men’s basketball recruit).
NCAA Division II
- Coaches can start mailing recruiting material, calling you, and making off-campus contact on June 15 before your junior year in high school.
NCAA Division III and NAIA
- Coaches can send printed materials and call at any time.
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