Understanding the NCAA men’s water polo recruiting rules and calendar
- Early recruiting: While college coaches cannot contact student-athletes until June 15 after their sophomore year, they are still able to evaluate athletes at tournaments, college camps and showcases and contact their high school and club coaches to let them know they are interested in recruiting an athlete. This is why it’s important for student-athletes to attend these events to increase their visibility and catch the attention of college coaches.
- Communication and verbal offers: The NCAA prohibits all communication between college coaches and student-athletes until after June 15 of the athlete’s sophomore year. College coaches must also wait until this date to make verbal offers to athletes.
- Official and unofficial visits: Student-athletes can begin to schedule both official and unofficial visits with college water polo programs starting August 1 of the athlete’s junior year. Student-athletes and their families are still permitted go on unofficial visits before August 1, as long as they do not engage in recruiting conversations with college coaches during the visit.
- Accepting scholarships: To officially accept a scholarship offer with an NCAA sponsored sport, most student-athletes will sign a National Letter of Intent (NLI). Starting in November, water polo athletes can sign a scholarship through the beginning of August. Student-athletes can view the National Signing Day dates on the NLI website.
When can college water polo coaches contact you?
College water polo coaches at the NCAA Division 1 and 2 levels can start contacting recruits via phone, text and email beginning June 15 after the athlete’s sophomore year. While no form of communication is allowed between coaches and athletes before this date, coaches are able to contact high school and club coaches for general feedback on water polo recruits. Division 3 college coaches are able to communicate with student-athletes at any time.
Before college coaches can contact student-athletes, there are plenty of ways that athletes can prepare for the recruiting process. Student-athletes should research water polo programs and identify a list of target schools where they meet the athletic and academic standards. Student-athletes should also begin to market themselves with a recruiting profile and video that highlight their skillset. Once contact is permitted, student-athletes can begin building relationships with college coaches by first reaching out to express their interest in the program and sharing their recruiting profile and video.
New NCAA men’s water polo recruiting rules for 2019
The NCAA is committed to creating an equal and positive recruiting experience for water polo recruits and college coaches. In order to stay true to this commitment, the association regularly makes adjustments to the NCAA Division 1 recruiting rules. Most recently, the NCAA designed a multi-phase strategy to curb early recruiting across all sports. The second phase of this strategy was set into motion in May 2019 when the NCAA announced a new rule that prohibits communication between student-athletes and college coaches until after June 15 of the athlete’s sophomore year. While the NCAA rules have always prohibited college coaches from contacting athletes until a determined date, this new rule now prohibits coaches who are directly contacted by student-athletes from talking freely with the athlete until June 15 after their sophomore year. If an athlete initiates contact with a college coach before this date, the coach will not be able to engage in conversation.
Additionally, the NCAA changed the date that water polo athletes can begin to schedule unofficial and official visits to after August 1 of their junior year. By pushing back the date that college coaches can begin contacting athletes, the NCAA hopes to give athletes more time to enjoy their high school experience and develop athletically and mentally.