When can women’s gymnastics coaches contact recruits? It’s always one of the first questions we receive from student-athletes and their families. In general, college coaches can call and send text messages, direct messages and emails to the student-athletes starting June 15 after sophomore year.
However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that coaches haven’t been recruiting before that point. College coaches conduct online evaluations ahead of time so that when they can reach out, they’re ready to make verbal offers to the top recruits on their list. In this section, we break down the different NCAA gymnastics recruiting rules for each division level.
The NCAA created a recruiting calendar that determines when and how college coaches can contact recruits. In many sports, early recruiting has increasingly become a problem, and this calendar is designed to limit the amount of contact between coaches and underclassmen. These regulations are especially important for NCAA women’s gymnastics, where recruiting is extremely competitive and the majority of schools are at the Division 1 level.
Plus, understanding the NCAA gymnastics recruiting rules and calendar as a student-athlete can be advantageous. Recruits will know the best times to contact a coach and get on their radar, maximizing their college opportunities.
NCAA Division 1 and Division 2 women’s gymnastics coaches can begin personally contacting recruits starting June 15 after their sophomore year.
On August 1, recruits are permitted to take unofficial and official visits to these colleges, and coaches can conduct off-campus contact.
Basically, recruiting takes off the summer after sophomore year for the top programs within Division 1 and 2.
Division 3 college coaches, on the other hand, are allowed to contact recruits at any point during high school. However, they usually recruit their top prospects during junior year and into senior year, as well.
Even though coaches aren’t permitted to talk to athletes until June 15 after sophomore year, keep in mind that they’re still actively recruiting behind the scenes before this point.
First, they’ll send general questionnaires to underclassmen to discover which athletes are interested in their school. Then, they’ll conduct online evaluations, watch highlight films, and follow elite competitions to scout athletes and build their list of prospects. And—this is important—they also review emails they receive from student-athletes.
Coaches are regulated on when they can contact athletes, but recruits are allowed to reach out at any time. That’s why it’s so important to proactively send your recruiting profile to NCAA women’s gymnastics coaches at schools that you’re interested in, especially for Division 1 programs.
An NCAA Dead Period is the most restrictive period on the recruiting calendar. During this time, coaches are prohibited from having any in-person contact with recruits and/or their families, meaning they can’t visit a gymnast recruit in their school or home, meet with them on campus or even say “hello” at a competition.
It’s important to note that this only affects in-person conversations. Gymnastics coaches can still text, call or email athletes during this time period, so it’s not like recruiting comes to a full stop. Campus and in-home visits don’t occur during this time.
It’s important to know when gymnastics dead periods happen so student-athletes can be sure to schedule their official and unofficial visits accordingly.
Division 1 sports must adhere to the strictest recruiting rules. Here are the NCAA women’s gymnastics recruiting rules for Division 1:
Division 2 college coaches have slightly more relaxed recruiting rules compared to Division 1, especially around official and unofficial visits. All sports within Division 2 follow the same set of rules, which include:
Division 3 has the most relaxed recruiting rules within the NCAA. These coaches don’t have limits on when they can contact recruits. There are only regulations in place for off-campus contact and official visits. Here is an overview of Division 3 recruiting rules:
Throughout the year, the NCAA establishes periods when gymnastics coaches are prohibited from talking with a recruit and/or their family in-person on a recruiting calendar. These are referred to as dead periods and during this time, coaches won’t talk to recruits at their college campus, during a camp, or at the student-athlete’s high school. Here are the dead period dates for NCAA Division 1 women’s gymnastics:
Like Division 1, Division 2 college coaches also abide by a recruiting calendar. During dead periods, these coaches aren’t allowed to talk to recruits and/or their parents/guardians in person.
The only dead period in Division 2 for women’s gymnastics is during the first two days of when athletes can sign the National Letter of Intent, from November 6 (7 a.m.) to November 8 (7 a.m.), 2023.
College gymnastics coaches make verbal offers to recruits, but nothing is officially set in stone until you sign the National Letter of Intent (NLI).
The NLI is a binding contract where the student-athlete is solidifying their commitment to the school and in return, the college is promising to provide an athletic scholarship for that academic year. In other words, signing the NLI marks the end of a student-athlete’s recruiting journey—they have officially committed to their school.
For NCAA Division 1 and Division 2 women’s gymnastics, the recruiting period starts on November 8, 2023 and ends on August 1, 2024.