When can men’s golf coaches begin to contact potential recruits? It’s the first thing student-athletes want to know as they kick off their recruiting journey. In general, college coaches can personally reach out to student-athletes starting June 15 after their sophomore year. They can call, email, text and make verbal offers. However—and this is important—a significant amount of recruiting takes place before this time.
To build a list of interested prospects, college coaches start researching recruits before they can initiate contact. They follow national rankings, evaluate golf scores at top tournaments and analyze swing videos. So, this section not only explains the men’s golf recruiting rules and calendar, but it also goes into detail on how coaches recruit during—and around—these regulations
At first glance, the NCAA golf recruiting rules and calendar may seem daunting, but once you break them down, you’ll find they’re not overly complicated. Here’s the gist: each academic year, the NCAA establishes a recruiting calendar that outlines when and how college coaches can contact student-athletes. These restrictions prevent coaches from emailing and calling recruits too often (and too early). Knowing the contact rules will help student-athletes maximize their opportunity of establishing relationships with men’s golf coaches at schools they’re interested in. Plus, it’s a good way to ensure your recruiting remains on track. For example, if you know coaches are allowed to reach out to athletes after their sophomore year, then you want to get on their radar before that point.
In May 2019, the NCAA proposed new recruiting rules that affect Division 1 college coaches. With some athletes committing as early as freshman year, these rules were enforced to curb early recruiting. However, for men’s golf, the new changes will mostly go unnoticed. First, early recruiting isn’t really a prevalent issue in men’s golf. And according to the NCAA, 62 percent of golf recruits received their first contact from a college coach during their sophomore and junior year. So, more likely than not, the golf recruiting timeline will remain about the same.
NCAA Division 1 and Division 2 golf coaches can begin to contact recruits starting June 15 after their sophomore year. At this time, they can call, text, email, direct message and make verbal offers to student-athletes. Then, beginning August 1 before junior year, recruits can partake in unofficial and official visits. Division 3 college coaches, on the other hand, aren’t required to adhere to the same set of rules and can reach out to recruits at any point in high school. NAIA coaches set their own recruiting timeline, as well.
But don’t be mistaken—a lot of work is done before this point. Men’s golf coaches are actively researching and evaluating recruits so when the time comes, they know exactly who they’ll contact. Coaches keep a close eye on national rankings, such as the Junior Golf Scoreboard, the American Junior Golf Association and Golfweek, evaluate swing videos, track scoring averages at tournaments and prioritize high academic recruits. That’s why student-athletes interested in competing at top golf programs need to start early and be proactive. This includes: researching the different divisions, improving your national ranking by playing at tournaments and tours, registering for the NCAA Eligibility Center and meeting academic requirements, creating a profile that highlights academic achievements and a swing video and emailing coaches.
NCAA Division 1 sports follow the most restrictive set of rules:
NCAA Division 2 recruiting rules are slightly more lenient, mostly around visits:
NCAA Division 3 differs from Division 1 and Division 2 in that it doesn’t have limits on when coaches can contact recruits. The only restrictions in place are around off-campus contact and official visits.
The NCAA Golf Recruiting Calendar dictates when and how college coaches can proactively recruit athletes. The calendar is broken into different periods: the evaluation period, dead period, quiet period and contact period.
NCAA Division 1
Contact Period: You’ll find that most of the NCAA golf recruiting calendar falls under the contact period. During this time, college coaches can evaluate a recruit in-person and conduct off-campus contact.
Dead Period: During a dead period, coaches can’t talk to recruits at their college campus, a camp or the athlete’s school.
Quiet period: At this time, college coaches may not have face-to-face contact with recruits or their parents off the college campus, and they can’t watch student-athletes compete or visit their high school.
Evaluation Period: There’s an exception during the Quiet Period time frame above—the Evaluation Period. A coach may evaluate at the two events (showcase and combine) that are traditionally held in conjunction with the Golf Coaches Association of America National Convention.
NCAA Division 2
Dead Period: November 9–11, 2020
NCAA Division 3
Year-round recruiting permitted
Sure, getting a verbal offer is exciting, but signing the National Letter of Intent (NLI) makes it official—and even better, it marks the end of your recruiting journey. For all Division 1 sports, except for football and basketball, the signing period for seniors starts November 13, 2019 and ends August 1, 2020. The NLI acts as 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.
The 2019-20 school year is the first year that all athletes (outside of football and basketball) can begin signing the NLI and securing their scholarships on November 13, 2019 and continue to sign through August 1, 2020. Previously, there was an early signing period, followed by a break, and then a regular signing period in the second half of senior year. As a result of this change, more and more recruits are signing their NLI earlier than before and committing in the first half of senior year.
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.