When student-athletes kick off their recruiting journey, they often wonder: When can men’s basketball coaches contact me? Generally speaking, college coaches can start contacting student-athletes June 15 after their sophomore year. From calling to texting to emailing, they’re personally reaching out at this time. But don’t be mistaken—coaches are still actively recruiting behind the scenes before June 15. This section breaks down the NCAA basketball recruiting calendar to help student-athletes maximize their opportunities of connecting with basketball coaches.
At first glance, the NCAA basketball recruiting calendar may look overly complicated. From NCAA live periods to different types of contact, there’s a lot of information packed in there. We break it down piece-by-piece so families have a clear understanding of when and how college coaches can reach out to student-athletes. First and foremost, it’s important to know that the calendar was created to protect student-athletes from early recruiting. By limiting coach contact, the NCAA aimed to prevent coaches from emailing and calling too often and too early.
And even though these rules are designed for coaches to follow, it’s a great way for student-athletes to check if their recruiting is on track. For example, if we know that men’s basketball coaches are allowed to reach out starting June 15 after a student-athlete’s sophomore year and student-athletes haven’t heard from coaches by this time, then they should reevaluate their target list of schools. But the most important thing to remember about the NCAA basketball recruiting calendar is that these dates don’t represent when recruiting starts, or the only time recruiting takes place. Even when college coaches can’t talk to athletes, they’re still scouting and evaluating players behind the scenes. Plus, basketball recruits have a way of working around these rules: they can initiate contact via telephone and the college coach or staff can answer and talk to them. As long as the coach didn’t initiate the contact, they’re in the clear. So, basically, there’s still a lot of recruiting that happens. The best way to use this calendar is to know when coaches are contacting athletes and get on their radar ahead of time.
NCAA Division 1 and Division 2 college coaches can begin contacting recruits, sending recruiting materials, emailing, texting, calling and making verbal offers starting June 15 after the athlete’s sophomore year. At any time, they can send general recruiting materials, such as brochures and camp information. NCAA Division 3 and NAIA teams don’t have limits on when coaches can contact recruits and can reach out at any point during high school. That being said, they tend to follow the lead of Division 1 and Division 2 schools and start personally contacting athletes during their junior and senior years.
However—and this is very important—that doesn’t mean recruiting starts after sophomore year. Coaches are doing their homework before this point and create a list of their top prospects. That way, when June 15 rolls around, they know exactly who will receive scholarship offers. Student-athletes are in the loop, too. Recruits are allowed to call college coaches and talk to them on the phone as long as the student-athlete is the one initiating contact. In fact, 63 percent of basketball recruits are connecting with coaches before junior year. Therefore, we recommend that student-athletes be proactive in their recruiting by building a realistic list of target schools, creating a highlight film and emailing and calling college coaches to get on their radar.
The NCAA basketball contact period is—you guessed it—when college coaches can talk to and visit student-athletes. It’s the most active recruiting period in men’s basketball. All communication is fair game and in-person contact is allowed, which means coaches attend tournaments, athletes visit campuses, coaches visit high schools and in-home visits occur.
Remember that NCAA Division 1 and Division 2 college coaches aren’t allowed to reach out personally to student-athletes until June 15 after their sophomore year. So contact periods are applied once the student-athlete hits that point in their high school career. Here are the 2019-20 men’s basketball contact periods outlined by the NCAA:
Coaches visiting during the contact period is a great sign that the student-athlete is a high-value recruit, but student-athletes shouldn’t expect them to come knocking. Recruits need to establish relationships with coaches before the contact period occurs. A few ways to do this is by coordinating efforts with their current high school or club coach, sending introductory emails to college coaches with key stats and highlight film and researching college rosters to understand the best opportunities.
There are certain times in the offseason when the NCAA permits college coaches to evaluate their top prospects in person. Typically referred to as a NCAA live period or evaluation period, these crucial stretches in the basketball recruiting calendar give college coaches an opportunity to hit the road and scout players at tournaments—but that is about all they can do. No in-person contact is allowed between college coaches and recruits or their parents during these events. In fact, college coaches sit in their own section, away from families, and even use separate entrances when coming and going.
As a result of the 2017 federal investigation into college basketball recruiting fraud, the NCAA made changes to the timing of live periods, making them more “scholastic oriented.” In other words, to strengthen the relationships between high school and college coaches and eliminate the influence of apparel companies, more tournaments are run by high school coaches and are located at high schools. Additionally, there’s a new NCAA live period in June, instead of three consecutive live periods in July. Here’s the complete list for the 2019-20 school year:
It’s important for families to know when live periods are taking place and which tournaments college coaches are attending. In basketball recruiting, high school and college games are often scattered throughout the week, making it difficult for college coaches to see prospects play in person. That’s why a live period is a great time for them to evaluate all of their recruits and even scout new players. Keep in mind, though, that coaches come prepared with a list of recruits they want to see. Be proactive in your recruiting and reach out to college coaches before a live period occurs. Sending them an introductory email, with a link to your online profile and highlight film, can help you secure an evaluation during the event.
Each academic year, the NCAA outlines specific types of contact that college coaches are permitted to have at the D1 and D2 level. Below is an overview of the 2019-20 basketball recruiting calendar, the different contact periods and when they occur. Families can layer this information with the basketball recruiting rules to fully maximize their opportunities.
Dead period: During the dead period, coaches may not have any in-person contact with recruits and/or their parents. But communication is still allowed to occur via phone, email and social media/other digital communication channels.
*A prospective student-athlete may not make an unofficial visit during the month of July unless he has signed an NLI or the institution’s written offer of admission and/or financial aid, or the institution has received a financial deposit from the prospective student-athlete in response to an offer of admission.
Quiet period: During a quiet period, athletes can talk to college coaches in-person on their college campus. However, the coach can’t watch recruits compete in-person, visit their school, talk to them at their home or anywhere outside of the college campus.
Evaluation period: Also known as a live period, the evaluation period is the specific time of year when college coaches can watch an athlete compete in person or visit their school—but that is about all they can do. Coaches can’t communicate with recruits (or their parents) off the college campus.
Contact period: All communication between athletes and coaches is fair game during the contact period. This is when coaches are most active in their recruiting process.
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Like NCAA Division 1, Division 2 coaches must adhere to a specific recruiting calendar, which the NCAA outlines when and how they can contact student-athletes. Here are the important dates to know for the 2019-20 academic year:
In May 2019, the NCAA adopted new rules to curb early recruiting. By limiting coach communication, they aimed to give student-athletes ample time to make their college decision like their non-athlete peers. These established contact rules affect Division 1 college coaches.
However, some sports were excluded from these changes because they recently went through a series of rule changes—and men’s basketball was one of them. Therefore, nothing has changed in the basketball recruiting timeline as a result of 2019’s new rules. As a reminder, here’s the NCAA’s guide to basketball recruiting rules.
NCAA Division 1 sports must adhere to the most restrictive set of rules:
NCAA Division 2 recruiting rules are slightly more lenient than Division 1, especially around visits. They are same across all sports:
Unlike NCAA Division 1 and Division 2, Division 3 coaches don’t have limits on when they can contact recruits. The only restrictions in place are around off-campus contact and official visits.
NAIA coaches manage their own recruiting timelines and can contact student-athletes at any point during high school, including emailing, texting and calling. They don’t face the same restrictions as the NCAA. Student-athletes will find that most NAIA coaches begin recruiting junior year—after ACT and SAT scores become available—and into senior year.
Like the NAIA, junior college basketball coaches can recruit student-athletes at any point during high school. That includes telephone calls, emails, texts, social media, etc. Student-athletes must complete their junior year of high school to take an official visit to an NJCAA college. Student-athletes will find that JUCO programs recruit athletes during their junior year and into their senior year, as well.
Getting a verbal offer from a college coach is exciting, but it isn’t official until you sign the National Letter of Intent (NLI). This is a binding contract between a prospective student-athlete and the college: 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. Signing the NLI essentially marks the end of a student-athlete’s recruiting journey. For NCAA Division 1 men’s basketball, there are actually two signing periods: an early signing period in the fall and a regular signing period in the spring. The early signing period is a great opportunity for athletes who have offers from their top schools and want to lock in their commitment. But if a recruit is holding out for another offer or hasn’t made his decision yet, he has the option of signing during the regular signing period. Here are the 2019-20 dates for men’s basketball:
Insider tip: Despite the impact that coronavirus had on college sports, as of June 1, 2021, the NCAA resumed its regular recruiting rules and activity! Coaches are actively working to fill their rosters, so student-athletes should be proactive in reaching out to coaches. Read up on how the extra year of eligibility granted to athletes who were most affected by the pandemic in 2020 will impact future recruiting classes.