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.
- 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.
- Contact and verbal offers: Starting June 15 after the recruit’s sophomore year, college coaches can begin extending verbal offers.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
- Any time: Non-recruiting materials can be sent to recruits at any time (i.e. questionnaires, camp brochures, nonathletic institutional publications and official NCAA educational materials).
- June 15 after sophomore year: The recruiting process officially starts on June 15 after the recruit’s sophomore year when college coaches can call athletes, as well as send text messages, direct messages and emails. This is also when college coaches can start sending recruiting materials and extending verbal scholarship offers.
- August 1 of junior year: This is the official date that recruits can start scheduling unofficial visits or official visits. College coaches can also begin off-campus evaluations at the recruit’s school or home after this date.
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.
- Any time:
- The NCAA does not restrict college coaches on when they can send non-recruiting materials, such as camp brochures, questionnaires, NCAA materials and non-athletic recruiting publications.
- Unofficial visits are permitted at any time.
- June 15 of sophomore year
- Recruits can begin receiving printed recruiting.
- College coaches can begin calling recruits.
- Off-campus communications between coaches and athletes and/or their parents is permitted.
- Athletes can begin scheduling official visits.
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.
- Recruiting materials: Recruits can receive recruiting materials at any time.
- Telephone calls and digital communication: College coaches can contact recruits via phone and digital communication at any time.
- Off-campus contact: College coaches and recruits can partake in off-campus communication, following the athlete’s sophomore year.
- Official visits: Recruits can schedule official visits starting January 1 of their junior year.
- Unofficial visits: Recruits can take an unlimited number of unofficial visits during the recruiting process.
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.
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.
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. 13, 2019
Final signing date: Aug. 1, 2020
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.