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2019-20 NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Recruiting Rules and Calendar

Impact of Coronavirus on College Lacrosse Recruiting: The NCAA has continued its suspension of all in-person recruiting through August 31; Different rules have been approved for the D2 level.  The NCAA also granted an extra year of eligibility to college seniors. The impact of coronavirus on sports is that right now, all recruiting activity is happening online. The timing of when sports will come back is being determined by the state, local and national governing bodies. Here is more information on how coronavirus will impact Lacrosse. We’re also sharing survey results from 600+ college coaches, in which we asked how they think COVID-19 will impact recruiting.

When can college coaches talk to players? In 2017, the NCAA approved a proposal from the IWLCA and IMLCA to push back the date that college coaches can begin contacting student-athletes to September 1 of their junior year. Why did college lacrosse change the recruiting rules? In a 2017 study conducted by the NCAA, 81 percent of lacrosse student-athletes reported that their first recruiting contact, direct or indirect, from a college coach occurred before their junior year. Compared to the other 10 NCAA sanctioned men’s sports, lacrosse had the highest rate of early recruiting by 18 percent.

In additional to early coach contact, 50 percent of lacrosse student-athletes reportedly made 4+ unofficial visits and recruits reported that their first verbal offer was received before junior year. Recognizing the effects of early recruiting on the sport of lacrosse and the young student-athletes who are still developing physically and mentally, US Lacrosse and the IWLCA and IMLCA worked together to push the NCAA to change the recruiting rules.

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As a result of these changes, men’s lacrosse has some of the most restrictive recruiting rules of any sport. Coaches and recruits must wait until September 1 after an athlete’s junior year, to communicate via verbal offers, emails, calls, texts and recruiting letters. Though, recruiting rules do vary from division to division, allowing coaches to contact athletes earlier, most division levels follow the NCAA rules. We’ve created this section to help student-athletes and their families better understand the NCAA lacrosse recruiting rules and calendar, as well as the rules and calendar for the NAIA.

Understanding the NCAA Lacrosse Recruiting Rules and Calendar

The college recruiting process can be stressful but understanding the NCAA lacrosse recruiting calendar and rules shouldn’t be. This section outlines everything student-athletes and their families need to know about the recruiting process across the NCAA’s three divisions and the NAIA’s two divisions, including when the process begins, early recruitment and the rules and calendar established by the NCAA each year.

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When does the men’s lacrosse recruiting process start?

College coaches can begin contacting recruits, sending recruiting materials, communicating digitally and making verbal offers starting September 1 of the athlete’s junior year. Student-athletes can begin contacting college coaches and scheduling official and unofficial beginning September 1 of their junior year.

Of course, athletes should be preparing for the lacrosse recruiting process far before this date. Student-athletes and their families should dedicate time to building a strong recruiting profile, creating a quality highlights video and researching schools in advance to the start of the recruiting process. This preparation will help position athletes for a successful recruitment experience.

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Early recruiting in men’s lacrosse 

The NCAA, together with US Lacrosse and the IWLCA/IMLCA, established new rules in 2017 to significantly limit early recruiting. These new rules were designed to stop all forms of recruiting conversations and early offers before September 1st of an athlete’s junior year of high school. The only forms of communication a college coach can have is with a recruit’s club or high school coach, but even those conversations are limited to simple yes or no answers to the questions of recruiting. Absolutely no verbal offers can be made or suggested. 

But early recruiting can still occur before communication between college coaches and recruits is permitted. Before September 1st, college coaches are free research student-athletes by viewing recruiting profiles, watching highlight videos and watching the student-athlete’s performance at games. When communication is permitted, starting September 1st of an athlete’s junior year, college coaches will have already done their research and can begin to build a relationship with athletes they are interested in recruiting. This is why it’s important for student-athletes to create a recruiting profile with stats and a highlight video and play in tournaments prior to the start of the lacrosse recruiting process.

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New NCAA men’s lacrosse recruiting rules – why did they change?

A study on student-athlete’s recruiting experience, conducted by the NCAA Division I Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), revealed that early recruiting was more prevalent in college lacrosse than any other men’s NCAA sport, with 81 percent of recruits reporting their first recruiting communication occurred before junior year. In 2017, US Lacrosse and the IWLCA and IMLCA teamed up to address the spiraling trend of early recruiting in college lacrosse and proposed that the NCAA adopt new rules around coach and athlete communication. The ultimate goals in pushing this change was to curb the spiraling trend of early recruiting in lacrosse and alleviate pressure on student-athletes and allow time to focus on academics, take the ACT and/or SAT, develop their athletic skillset and, most importantly, enjoy high school. 

In April 2017, the NCAA Division I Council approved a proposal from US Lacrosse and the IWLCA and IMLCA to ban college lacrosse coaches from communicating with student-athletes until September 1 of their junior year. This means college coaches cannot contact student-athletes, schedule unofficial visits or give verbal offers until that date.

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When can college coaches contact men’s lacrosse recruits?

NCAA Division I college coaches can start contacting student-athletes after September 1 of junior year. This rule was established in April 2017 by the NCAA Division I Council. Division II college coaches are able to contact student-athletes starting June 15 after sophomore year.

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NCAA Division 1 Men’s Lacrosse Recruiting Rules

NCAA Division I sports follow the most restrictive and limiting set of rules that vary from sport to sport.

  • Any time: College coaches can send athletes non-recruiting materials, including questionnaires, camp brochures, nonathletic institutional publications and official NCAA educational materials.

  • September 1 of junior year: Coaches can begin calling athletes, as well as send text messages, direct messages and emails. Student-athletes can begin receiving recruiting materials and verbal scholarship offers.

  • September 1 of junior year: Unofficial visits or official visits are not permitted before this date.

  • September 1 of junior year: Off-campus evaluations can begin. During the athlete’s junior year, evaluations can only occur at the recruit’s school or home.

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NCAA Division 2 Men’s Lacrosse Recruiting Rules

All NCAA Division II sports adhere to the same recruiting rules, which are more lenient than The NCAA Recruiting Rules for Division I schools.

  • Non-recruiting materials: Athletes may receive non-recruiting materials, including camp brochures, questionnaires, and NCAA materials and non-athletic recruiting publications at any time.

  • Printed recruiting materials: Student-athletes can begin receiving printed recruiting materials, starting July 15 after an athlete’s sophomore year.

  • Telephone calls: Coaches are permitted to start calling athletes, beginning June 15 after an athlete’s sophomore year.

  • Off-campus contact: Off-campus communications between coaches and athletes and/or their parents may begin on June 15 after an athlete’s sophomore year.

  • Unofficial visits: Unofficial visits are permitted at any time.

  • Official visits: Starting June 15 after an athlete’s sophomore year, athletes may schedule official visits.

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NCAA Division 3 Men’s Lacrosse Recruiting Rules 

Just as the NCAA DII, DIII schools have the same NCAA recruiting rules for all sports. DIII schools enjoy the most relaxed rules, as compared to the other two NCAA divisions.

  • Recruiting materials: Recruiting materials can be sent to athletes at any time.

  • Telephone calls: College coaches are not restricted on when they can call athletes.

  • Digital communications: College coaches are permitted to contact athletes digitally at any time.

  • Off-campus contact: Off-campus communication between an athlete and coaches can begin following the athlete’s sophomore year.

  • Official visits: Official visits can begin starting January 1 of an athlete’s junior year.

  • Unofficial visits: There is no limit to the number of unofficial visits athletes can make.

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NAIA Men’s Lacrosse Recruiting Rules

NAIA recruiting traditionally begins later in the recruiting period, as NAIA coaches often look to recruit student-athletes who missed out on an offer from a D1 school. Coaches and athletes are held to fewer and less strict recruiting rules, as compared to the NCAA and are free to communicate at any time during high school. Athletes will find that NAIA coaches make a concerted effort to ensure athletes are not just a good fit athletically, but also socially and academically.

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2019-20 Division 1 and Division 2 NCAA Lacrosse Recruiting Calendar

Division 1

Dead periods: This period prevents coaches from any in-person contact with recruits and/or their parents. Digital communication between athletes and coaches is still allowed via phone, email, social media, etc. 

  • Nov. 11-14, 2019, (Mon-Thurs of the initial week for the signing of the National Letter of Intent)

  • Nov. 25-Dec. 1, 2019

  • Dec. 24, 2019-Jan. 5, 2020

  • May 22-26, 2020 (at noon)

  • July 2-6, 2020

Contact period: Contact between athletes and coaches is restricted to camp and clinic information, until June 15 after the sophomore year. Once this date passes, coaches and athletes can communicate freely using any NCAA-approved method, including emails, text, calls and direct messages. It is at this time that coaches are also allowed to extend verbal offers. The only communication restrictions in place after June 15 of the athlete’s sophomore year are the dead periods listed above and a quiet period between Dec. 2-23, 2019 and Jan. 21-Feb.29, 2020.

Division 2

The NCAA lacrosse recruiting calendar for D2 has three dead periods listed below. Student-athletes are free to communicate with coaches beginning June 15 after their sophomore year.

  • Nov. 11 (7 a.m.) – 13 (7 a.m.), 2019 (during the 48 hours prior to 7 a.m. on the initial date for the spring signing of the National Letter of Intent)

  • Dec. 4-9 (noon), 2019 (the Wednesday before the Intercollegiate Men’s Lacrosse Coaches Association Clinic through Monday following the clinic)

  • May 21-26 (noon), 2020 (Thursday before the NCAA Division 2 Men’s Lacrosse Championship through noon Tuesday after the championship)

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What is the quiet period in NCAA lacrosse recruiting?

NCAA DI men's lacrosse observes quiet periods, during which college coaches may only talk to prospective student-athletes in-person on campus. During this time, College coaches are prohibited from visiting student-athletes’ homes, high schools and games. The NCAA’s philosophy behind the quiet period is to provide recruits a break from college coach visits, while still allowing communication to flow from coach to athlete in emails, texts, calls and direct messaging.

  • Dec. 2-23, 2019
  • Jan. 21-Feb. 39, 2020

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