September 1 isn’t just any old day. Sure, it usually marks the start of fall and pumpkin spice latte season, but in recruiting, it has even more significance. According to the NCAA recruiting rules, Division I college coaches can start actively recruiting athletes September 1 of their junior year of high school for most sports.
This is great news for recruits, as the communication floodgates are now open. College coaches can personally start reaching out to high school juniors through
- Phone calls (except for DI football)
- Social media, like DMs and friend requests
- Plus, off-campus contact is allowed (for most sports)
Effective April 2018, the NCAA also allows official visits, coach contact at camps and clinics, and unofficial visits to begin Sept. 1 junior year
The NCAA also approved a new set of rules that changes the way Division 1 college coaches can recruit athletes during camps and visits in an effort to cut back on coaches giving offers to recruits before their junior year of high school. The rules take effect immediately, starting Wednesday, April 25, 2018, and impact all Division 1 sports except football and basketball. Here’s a quick breakdown of these changes:
- Official visits: Recruits can now start taking official visits starting September 1 of their junior year of high school. In the past, official visits weren’t permitted until the athlete’s senior year of high school, so this rule is actually bumping them up!
- Unofficial visits: College athletic departments-this includes college coaches-are not allowed to be involved in a recruit’s unofficial visits. Quick refresher: Unofficial visits are any campus visits paid for entirely by the recruit’s family. Before the rule change, unofficial visits were an easy way for underclassmen to visit a college camps, meet with the coach and get an early verbal offer. However, if athletes want to take unofficial visits now, they cannot schedule them with the coach-they should treat the unofficial visit just like any other student would. If the recruit happens to bump into the coach on campus, they can’t have any recruiting conversations at that time.
- Camps and clinics: Recruits and college coaches are not allowed to have any recruiting conversations during camps prior to September 1 of the athlete’s junior year of high school. Previously, there weren’t really any rules that prevented coaches from talking about recruiting to underclassmen during camps. In fact, it had become common practice for college coaches to extend verbal scholarship offers to top recruits during camps.
Bottom line? The NCAA says Division I coaches can actively recruit now, and the communications floodgates are open. But more likely than not, these coaches have already been in contact with the high school coach or club coach of their potential prospects.
So, what does this mean for you?
If you’re a junior and haven’t heard from DI coaches yet, don’t worry. There’s still time in your recruiting. Your first move is to research the schools you’re interested in, and then send a personalized email to the college coach or recruiting staff.
Check out our sample introductory email to help get you started.
Dear Coach Smith,
I’ve been following your team for a few years now, and was really impressed by your team’s performance in the championship game last year—congratulations! I wanted to connect with you because I would love to be part of this competitive environment as a college athlete.
My name is Jane Doe and I’m a 6’2” forward at Generic High School in Chicago, IL. I was honored by being been named the Gatorade Player of the Year earlier this year. I currently start on my AAU basketball team and am a four-year varsity starter for my high school team. I think that my work ethic and talent would be a great match for your program.
For the rest of my athletic stats, highlight video, academic stats and personal statement, please visit my online profile at: [link to NCSA profile].
I will be competing in an AAU tournament near you on Sept. 20, 2017, with my first game at 1p.m. CT. I would really appreciate it if you would could see me compete in person.
If you’re a freshman or sophomore, you should start preparing now for Sept. 1 of junior year. Do your research, gain a firm understanding of what you’re looking for in a college, and start getting on coaches’ radar. You’ll thank yourself when Sept. 1 of junior year rolls around!
If you’d like more help getting in touch with college coaches, give us a call at 866-495-5172. Our recruiting force has been through the process thousands of times and is excited to help you find your best college match!