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NCAA Recruiting Rules: When Can College Coaches Contact High School Athletes

 

NCAA recruiting rules

The NCAA recruiting rules can be detailed and tricky to understand. One of the most common questions families ask is when college coaches can start contacting their athletes. For most sports, coaches can begin reaching out to athletes starting September 1 or June 15 going into the athlete’s junior year of high school.

More specifically, coach contact depends on your sport, age, division level and the type of communication. The NCAA recruiting rules are designed to limit the amount of communication elite athletes receive from coaches, giving them some respite from all the calls, emails and letters. We’ve created a comprehensive guide to help you understand when you can expect to start hearing from college coaches, based on your sport and desired division level.

Insider Tip: As an athlete, you can reach out to college coaches at any time. The NCAA recruiting rules only limit when coaches can communicate with potential recruits. We recommend emailing coaches of programs you are interested in as early as possible. Send them your athletic resume, which includes:

  • Your highlight video
  • Any sport-specific stats
  • Your academic information
  • Why you are interested in their program

When the NCAA recruiting rules allow coaches to contact you, you will already be on their radar. Be sure to follow up each of your communications with a phone call, as coaches can take your call at any point. They just can’t call you back if they miss your call.

 

When can Division I coaches contact athletes?

Generally speaking, DI coaches can send athletes recruiting questionnaires, camp brochures, and non-athletic institutional publications freshman and sophomore year. Most other contact begins either June 15 or September 1 of the athlete’s junior year, according to the NCAA recruiting rules.

Insider Tip: Athletes can always communicate with college coaches through their club or high school coach. Your current coach can communicate with the college coach and set up a phone call, telling the college coach to expect a call from the athlete at a specific time so the coach is sure to answer the phone.

 

Division I Football

  • September 1 of junior year: Athletes can receive any form of private communication. This includes emails, recruiting materials, texts and direct messages on social media.
  • April 1 through Sunday before the last Wednesday in June of junior year: Athletes can take one official visit as long as it is not taken in conjunction with their participation in the college’s camps or clinics.
  • April 15 through May 31 of junior year: NCAA recruiting rules mandate that, during this time, coaches can call athletes one time. Additional calls can be made after September 1 of the athlete’s senior year.
  • July 1 going into senior year: Coaches can contact athletes off campus.
  • September 1 of senior year: Coaches can call athletes once a week after this time, and they can call recruits unlimited times during the contact period. Athletes can receive unlimited calls during the contact period.
  • First day of classes senior year: Athletes can take official visits.
  • The athlete’s senior year, coaches can initiate off-campus contact with the athletes and/or their parents up to six times.
  • During athletes’ senior year, coaches can evaluate each recruit once during September, October and November. They can conduct two evaluations per athlete (one to determine an athlete’s athletic ability and the other to determine academic qualifications) between April 15 and May 31.
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Division I Men’s Basketball

  • June 15 prior to junior year: Coaches can call, email, text, direct message and correspond with athletes in any form of private communication. Calls from coaches to athletes are unlimited at this time except during dead and quiet periods.
  • Start of classes junior year: Coaches can initiate off-campus contact. Except during the April recruiting period, coaches can only conduct off-campus contact at the recruit’s school or residence. Contact cannot occur the day of a competition or at a time during the day when the athlete’s classes are in session.
  • January 1 of junior year: Recruits can begin official visits, with a maximum of five total official visits, with only one official visit per school. Meaning, you can have an official visit at up to five schools, with one official visit at each. Bear in mind, official visits cannot occur during the dead period, as the NCAA recruiting rules explain.
  • Senior year: College coaches can contact recruits and/or their parents off the college’s campus up to seven times.
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Division I Women’s Basketball

  • September 1 of junior year: Coaches can send electronic communications to athletes, including texts, instant messages, emails and recruiting materials. According to NCAA rules, coaches can call athletes an unlimited number of times.
  • March 1 of junior year: NCAA recruiting rules allow coaches to conduct off-campus contact at the athlete’s school or residence.
  • April of junior year starting the Thursday following the NCAA women’s basketball championship game: Recruits can begin taking up to five official visits, except during the dead periods.
  • A college coach can contact athletes and/or parents off campus up to seven times their senior year.
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Division I Men’s Ice Hockey

  • January 1 of sophomore year: Coaches can begin calling recruits.
  • June 15 before junior year: Coaches may begin initiating off-campus contact.
  • September 1 junior year: Coaches can send all forms of private electronic correspondence, including text messages, direct messages, instant messages and emails. Athletes can also receive recruiting materials and calls from coaches after this date.
  • July 1 after junior year: Coaches can conduct off-campus contact.
  • First day of classes senior year: Athletes can begin going on official visits, taking up to five.
  • Senior year: NCAA recruiting rules allow coaches to conduct off-campus communications with athletes and/or their parents no more than three times.
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Division I Women’s Ice Hockey

  • July 7-31 before junior year: College coaches can call international college-bound student-athletes once during this time period.
  • September 1 of junior year: Coaches can send all forms of private electronic correspondence, including texts, emails, direct messages, instant messages, etc. Recruits can also receive recruiting material from coaches at this point.
  • July 7 before senior year: Coaches can call recruits once a week. After this date, coaches can also begin conducting off-campus contact with recruits.
  • Start of classes senior year: Recruits can begin taking official visits to schools.
  • Senior year: Coaches can contact athletes and/or their parents off-campus no more than three times.
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Division I Men’s/Women’s Swimming & Diving; Cross Country; Track & Field

  • September 1 of junior year: The NCAA recruiting rules show only email and faxes are allowed to be sent to athletes until they provide written commitment to the NCAA school. At this date, athletes can receive recruiting materials.
  • July 1 going into senior year or start of classes senior year (whichever is earlier): Coaches may begin calling athletes.
  • July 1 going into senior year: Coaches may contact athletes off-campus.
  • Opening day of classes senior year: Athletes may begin taking their official visits.
  • Senior year: Coaches can conduct off-campus communications with athletes and/or their parents no more than three times.
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Division I Men’s/Women’s Lacrosse

  • September 1 of junior year: Coaches can send all forms of private, electronic correspondence, including text messages, instant messages, direct messages and emails, as well as recruiting materials. Coaches are also able to start calling athletes after this date. Unlike other sports, lacrosse athletes cannot call coaches before September 1 of their junior year.
  • After September 1 of junior year: Coaches can conduct off-campus visits at the athlete’s residence or school.
  • September 1 of junior year: Athletes cannot go on unofficial visits until this date.
  • Senior year: According to the NCAA recruiting rules, college coaches may contact athletes and/or their parents off-campus no more than three times.
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Division I Women’s Gymnastics

  • September 1 of junior year: Coaches can send athletes all forms of private electronic correspondence, including text messages, instant messages, direct messages and emails, as well as all recruiting materials. Coaches can also call athletes at this point.
  • September 1 of junior year: Athletes can begin taking unofficial visits.
  • July 7 going into senior year: Coaches can conduct off-campus contact with athletes.
  • Opening day of classes senior year: Athletes may begin taking official visits according to the NCAA recruiting rules.
  • Senior year: Coaches can conduct off-campus communications with athletes and/or their parents no more than three times.
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Division I Men’s Wrestling

  • September 1 of junior year: Coaches can send athletes all forms of private electronic correspondence, including text messages, instant messages, direct messages and emails, as well as all recruiting materials. Coaches can also call athletes at this point.
  • September 1 of junior year: Athletes can begin taking unofficial visits.
  • September 1 of junior year: NCAA recruiting rules allow coaches to conduct off-campus contact with athletes at their residence or school.
  • Opening day of classes senior year: Athletes may begin taking official visits.
  • Senior year: Coaches can conduct off-campus communications with athletes and/or their parents no more than three times.
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All other Division I sports

  • September 1 of junior year: Coaches can send athletes all forms of private electronic correspondence, including text messages, instant messages, direct messages and emails, as well as all recruiting materials. Coaches can also call athletes at this point.
  • September 1 of junior year: Athletes can begin taking unofficial visits.
  • July 1 after junior year: Coaches can conduct off-campus contact with athletes at their residence or school.
  • Opening day of classes senior year: Athletes may begin taking official visits.
  • Senior year: Coaches can conduct off-campus communications with athletes and/or their parents no more than three times.
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When can Division II coaches contact athletes?

The NCAA Recruiting Rules for Division II schools are slightly more relaxed than those for Division I, and the rules are the same across all sports:

  • General materials: Athletes can receive brochures for camps, questionnaires, NCAA materials and non-athletic recruiting publications at any time.
  • Printed recruiting materials: Starting July 15 before an athlete’s junior year, coaches can begin sending recruits printed recruiting materials.
  • Telephone calls: Starting June 15 going into the athlete’s junior year, coaches can start calling athletes.
  • Off-campus contact: Coaches can conduct off-campus communications with athletes and/or their parents starting June 15 before the athlete’s junior year.
  • Official visits: Athletes may start taking official visits starting June 15 going into their junior year.
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When can Division III coaches contact athletes?

DIII schools have the most relaxed NCAA recruiting rules of all the division levels. Similar to NCAA DII, they are the same for all sports:

  • Recruiting materials: Athletes can receive recruiting materials at any time.
  • Telephone calls: There is no limit on when college coaches can call athletes.
  • Off-campus contact: After the athlete’s sophomore year, college coaches may begin to conduct off-campus communications.
  • Official visits: Athletes can begin taking official visit after January 1 of their junior year.
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