Athletic Recruiting Coronavirus / COVID-19 Recruiting Tips

Recruiting Is Still Happening: What Recruiting Looks Like Across Division Levels

What-Can-D2-and-Other-Levels-Do-Blog

On April 15, 2021, the NCAA Division 1 Council announced that all in-person recruiting for D1 sports will resume starting June 1, 2021. That means coaches will be able to return to their normal recruiting calendars and activities.

In-person recruiting is still suspended through May 31, 2021 for Division 1 programs, but this same “dead period” does not apply to NCAA Division 2 and 3, NAIA and NJCAA programs, and will not apply to NCAA D1 programs effective June 1, 2021. 

We’re breaking down what student-athletes can do at every level below, including how to manage your recruiting during this time.

In the video below, NCSA recruiting experts Danny Koenig and Phill Wells explain what type of recruiting is currently allowed at every division level and share their tips for steps student-athletes should take to adapt and manage their recruiting during this time.

What type of recruiting is allowed at every division level?

NCAA Division 1 coaches/athletic staff cannot attend in-person recruiting events like camps, combines and tournaments or visit potential recruits at their high-school or home. While visits are not prohibited, D1 coaches are encouraged to suspend any unofficial and official visits to their college campus. In-person recruiting and normal recruiting activities/calendars will resume on June 1, 2021.

NCAA Division 2 programs resumed their normal recruiting calendars on September 1, 2020. This means that all forms of contact, including in-person recruiting opportunities like events and on and off campus visits, are allowed.

NCAA Division 3 and NAIA programs do not have official recruiting rules or calendars in place, allowing potential recruits to communicate with coaches both digitally and in-person. 

The NJCAA lifted its in-person recruiting ban on May 15, 2020, allowing junior colleges to resume in-person recruiting.

Adapting to the changes in recruiting

Despite the changing landscape of recruiting during COVID-19, student-athletes can continue to manage their recruiting now in order to set themselves up for success. From regularly updating their NCSA profile to narrowing down favorite schools and researching college rosters, college coaches are looking for proactive recruits who can use their downtime wisely. 

Many athletes are also taking this time to work on their recruiting video. From putting together a highlight video from their last sport season to getting creative and shooting a skills or training video from home, video is a great way to show coaches what you can do.

Check out our guide to managing the recruiting process during a dead period for more tips!

Communicating with college coaches

From making a great first impression to building a strong relationship over time, communicating with college coaches is paramount to a successful recruiting process. Thankfully, the majority of communication already happens digitally—and even D1 coaches are able to participate!

College coaches are relying heavily on email right now, so it’s important to learn how to best utilize email to connect with coaches at every grade level. Wondering how else to communicate with coaches? From phone calls and text messages to social DM’s and video calls like Zoom, Skype or FaceTime, prospective recruits can continue to connect with coaches from the comfort of their own home! 

Remember, coaches are also going through their own recruiting challenges—check out our recommendations for contacting coaches during COVID-19.

Attending camps, tournaments and recruiting events 

While it’s become common for recruiting events and even high school and club sport seasons to be postponed or canceled altogether during COVID-19, there are still opportunities for athletes to compete and show their athletic abilities to college coaches, including virtual events.

Keep in mind that until the in-person recruiting ban is suspended, D1 coaches cannot run or go to recruiting events like camps, combines and showcases. Similarly, while coaches from other division levels are allowed to attend and evaluate athletes and host events in-person, they may choose to watch the events virtually. 

Some organizations are returning to play while following best practices and safety guidelines, including implementing social distancing and minimizing player contact whenever possible. Check out our state level coronavirus information and local rules guide to see where your state stands on reopening.

Going on unofficial and official visits

Official and unofficial visits are one of the most important parts of the recruiting process. They provide a great way for athletes to narrow down their preferences and figure out what they like—and don’t like—about a school. But with many colleges and universities switching to remote learning, it can be difficult to arrange an in-person visit.

Even though unofficial and official visits aren’t prohibited at this time, many colleges are encouraging coaches to postpone or cancel upcoming tours. Before scheduling an unofficial or official visit, check in with the school’s coach to see what restrictions—and safety protocols—are in place. If a college is discouraging in-person visits, check out our guide to virtual campus visits here. 

Remember, there are still plenty of opportunities for student-athletes to stay on track with their recruiting regardless of division level. Don’t get discouraged! Coaches are interested to see how athletes are demonstrating their character during these challenging times.

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Kirkland Lawrence