How to use the NCAA golf recruiting rules and calendar
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.
Recent changes to the NCAA golf recruiting timeline
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.
When can college golf coaches contact recruits?
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 golf recruiting rules
NCAA Division 1 sports follow the most restrictive set of rules:
- Any time: College coaches can send recruits general materials, such as questionnaires, camp information, non-athletic information about the school and materials published by the NCAA.
- June 15 after sophomore year: Student-athletes can officially receive personal contact and recruiting materials. Coaches can call athletes, send text messages, direct messages and emails, as well as make verbal offers.
- August 1 before junior year: Recruits can take unofficial and official visits to schools. Student-athletes are permitted to take one official visit per school and are limited to five total official visits.
NCAA Division 2 golf recruiting rules
NCAA Division 2 recruiting rules are slightly more lenient, mostly around visits:
- Any time: Coaches can send recruits general materials, including questionnaires, camp brochures, NCAA materials and non-athletic information about the school. Student-athletes can take unofficial visits and aren’t restricted in the number of unofficial visits they take.
- June 15 after sophomore year: College coaches can call, text, email, direct message and conduct off-campus contact with an athlete and/or their family. Student-athletes can also begin taking official visits at this time. They’re allowed one visit per college, with unlimited total visits to Division 2 schools.
NCAA Division 3 golf recruiting rules
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.
- Any time: Student-athletes can receive recruiting materials, as well as generic materials about the school. Coaches can call, email, text and send direct messages to student-athletes. Recruits can go on unofficial visits at any point during high school and aren’t restricted in the number of unofficial visits they take.
- After sophomore year: Coaches can contact student-athletes off campus.
- January 1 of junior year: Student-athletes can begin going on official visits. They’re allowed one visit per college and can take as many unofficial visits to Division 3 programs as they like. It’s common for golf recruits to visit Division 3 schools during the spring of their junior year.
2019-20 NCAA golf recruiting calendar
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.
- August 1 to November 27, 2019, and January 2 to July 31, 2021.
Dead Period: During a dead period, coaches can’t talk to recruits at their college campus, a camp or the athlete’s school.
- November 11-14, 2019,
- November 28 to December 1, 2019
- December 9-12, 2019 (during the Golf Coaches Association of America Convention)
- December 23, 2019 to January 1, 2020
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.
- December 2-22, 2019
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 11-13, 2019
NCAA Division 3
Year-round recruiting permitted
National signing day for golf
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.
Back to Top ^