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2021–22 NCAA Men’s Tennis Recruiting Rules and Calendar

The NCAA is dedicated to establishing a set of college tennis recruiting rules and a calendar that guides college coaches and student-athletes through the recruiting process and promotes a positive recruiting experience for all parties involved. After the results of a 2017 NCAA survey revealed that early recruiting had become a trend across various sports, the association set out to make major changes to the recruiting rules. This page details these changes and explains how they affect men’s tennis recruiting.

READ MORE: NCAA’s new rules will grant student-athletes the opportunity to earn money from their name, image and likeness (NIL).

How to use the recruiting rules and calendar in your recruiting

College coaches identify athletes they are interested in long before June 15 of the athlete’s sophomore year, when the NCAA permits communication between both parties. Coaches will identify and start following talented athletes as young as 8th grade. Below is a look at the tennis recruiting process from early recruiting to National Signing Day.

  1. Early recruiting: Contacting recruits is just one part of the recruiting process for college coaches. Before coaches can reach out to recruits, they spend their time attending tournaments, college camps and showcases to evaluate athletes and build a list of potential recruits. During this time, college coaches are also known to connect with high school and club coaches to express interest in a recruit.
  2. Contact and verbal offers: Starting June 15 after the recruit’s sophomore year, college coaches can begin extending verbal offers.
  3. Official and unofficial visits: After a month and a half dedicated to building relationships with college coaches, recruits can schedule official and unofficial visits starting August 1 of the athlete’s junior year. Recruits and coaches are free to discuss recruiting on campus during these visits.
  4. National Signing Day: National Signing Day kicks off a 10-month signing period for men’s tennis. During this period, recruits can sign a National Letter of Intent (NLI) to officially accept their athletic scholarship. Recruits can view all of the signing dates on the NLI website.

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When does college tennis recruiting season start?

College coaches aren’t waiting until June 15 after a recruit’s sophomore year to start the recruiting process and neither should a recruit. Prior to June 15, coaches spend their time searching recruiting databases and attending tournaments to evaluate talent. Recruits should take the same proactive approach to getting recruited by creating an NCSA Recruiting Profile and highlight video, building a list of target schools and attending the camps and tournaments where college coaches are present. Taking initiative will help recruits better position themselves for a successful recruiting journey.

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When can coaches contact men’s tennis recruits?

Recruits cannot be contacted by NCAA Division 1 and Division 2 college coaches until after June 15 of their sophomore year. After this date, college tennis coaches may begin contacting recruits via phone, text and email. Prior to this date, college coaches may contact a recruit’s high school and club coaches for general feedback, but they are prohibited from discussing financial offers, recruiting statements, etc. Division 3 college coaches can communicate with recruits via digital communication at any time.

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New NCAA rules for men’s tennis

In 2017, the NCAA surveyed more than 15,000 Division 1 student-athletes to learn about their recruiting experience. While 76 percent of men’s tennis respondents reported their first recruiting contact was after sophomore year, the survey revealed that early recruiting had become a trend across multiple other sports. This discovery led to the release of new NCAA tennis recruiting rules in May 2019. These rules separated the start date for when college coaches can begin contacting recruits and when recruits can begin visiting college campuses. These changes to the NCAA recruiting rules are meant to establish a designated time for coaches and athletes to build a relationship through off-campus communication before the student-athlete’s official campus visit.

Recruits and college coaches can now focus on building a relationship through phone calls and digital communication between June 15 after the recruit’s sophomore year and August 1 of their junior year. Starting August 1, recruits can visit college coaches on campus during unofficial and official visits. Read more about the new NCAA Recruiting Rules and Calendar.

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Division 1 men’s tennis recruiting rules

NCAA Division 1 tennis recruiting rules are the strictest of the three division levels. While rules vary from sport to sport, these are the rules specific to men’s tennis:

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Division 2 men’s tennis recruiting rules

All NCAA Division 2 sponsored sports follow the same recruiting rules, which are less restrictive than Division 1 rules.

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Division 3 men’s tennis recruiting rules

The NCAA has the most relaxed recruiting rules at the Division 3 level. These rules apply to all Division 3 programs.

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NAIA men’s tennis recruiting rules

There are fewer NAIA tennis recruiting rules, which allows these programs to contact recruits at any point in the athlete’s high school career. NAIA coaches generally begin their recruiting process after NCAA programs have filled their rosters. These programs aim to offer recruits who were passed up by NCAA programs an opportunity to compete at the collegiate level for an NAIA team. NAIA coaches prioritize recruits that are more than just a good fit athletically, but also socially and academically.

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When can college coaches make you an offer?

College coaches can begin making verbal offers starting June 15 after the recruit’s sophomore year. To officially accept an athletic scholarship by signing a National Letter of Intent (NLI), recruits must wait until National Signing Day during their senior year.

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When is National Signing Day for college tennis?

Recruits are called to sign a National Letter of Intent (NLI) to officially accept a scholarship offer if they are attending one of the more than 650 NCAA Division 1 and Division 2 programs that use the NLI. This binding agreement guarantees the recruit’s athletic scholarship for one year and serves as the official end to their recruiting process. Visit the National Letter of Intent website to learn when National Signing Day is each year.

National Signing Day: Nov. 11, 2021

Final signing date: Aug. 1, 2022

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International athlete recruiting process

International recruits must follow a different set of recruiting rules than student-athletes in the U.S. These rules vary from country to country. Additionally, international recruits must navigate different challenges in the recruiting process, such as translating academic results into the American format, taking the required American standardized tests and applying for a student visa. Recruits can access the NCAA Guide to International Academic Standards for Athletics Eligibility on the NCAA website.

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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.

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