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NCAA Recruiting Rules: When Can College Coaches Contact High School Athletes

IMG football coach

The NCAA recruiting rules can be detailed and tricky to understand. One of the most common questions families ask is when college coaches can start contacting their athletes. For most sports, coaches can begin reaching out to athletes starting June 15 after sophomore year or September 1 of their junior year of high school.

More specifically, coach contact depends on your sport, age, division level and the type of communication. The NCAA recruiting rules are designed to limit the amount of communication elite athletes receive from coaches and give student-athletes time to make an informed decision about where they want to go to college. We’ve created a comprehensive guide to help you understand when you can expect to start hearing from college coaches, based on your sport and desired division level.

Insider Tip: While neither athletes nor coaches can initiate phone conversations until June 15 after an athlete’s sophomore year, college coaches are still going to build their recruiting classes prior to that date through online research, attending events and communicating with athletes’ coaches. Having an online profile is critical for athletes to get evaluated early. Athletes can also initiate communication by emailing coaches of programs they are interested in as early as possible. Send them your athletic resume, which includes:

  • Your highlight video
  • Any sport-specific stats
  • Your academic information
  • Why you are interested in their program

When the NCAA recruiting rules allow coaches to contact you, you will already be on their radar. Once your sport’s contact period begins, be sure to follow up communications with a phone call.

Updated NCAA recruiting rules change the timing for certain recruiting activities

In 2019, the NCAA approved a new set of rules that will change the way Division 1 college coaches can recruit athletes during camps and visits. In an effort to streamline communications and cut back on early recruiting, coaches will have to wait on giving scholarship offers to athletes until after their sophomore year of high school. Here’s a quick breakdown of these changes:

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

When can Division I coaches contact athletes?

Generally speaking, DI coaches can send athletes nonrecruiting material like recruiting questionnaires, camp brochures, and non-athletic institutional publications at any time. Serious recruiting contact begins either June 15 after sophomore year or September 1 of junior year, depending on the sport and division level.

Insider Tip: Athletes can always communicate with college coaches through their club or high school coach and send emails and texts to coaches. They just will not get a direct response from coaches until their sport’s contact period begins.

Division I football NCAA recruiting rules

Division I men’s basketball NCAA recruiting rules

Division I women’s basketball NCAA recruiting rules

Division I men’s ice hockey NCAA recruiting rules

Division I women’s ice hockey NCAA recruiting rules

Division I swimming and diving NCAA recruiting rules

Division I men’s and women’s lacrosse NCAA recruiting rules

Division I women’s gymnastics NCAA recruiting rules

Division I men’s wrestling NCAA recruiting rules

Division I softball NCAA recruiting rules

Division 1 baseball NCAA recruiting rules

All other Division I sports NCAA recruiting rules

When can Division II coaches contact athletes?

The NCAA Recruiting Rules for Division II schools are slightly more relaxed than those for Division I, and the rules are the same across all sports:

When can Division III coaches contact athletes?

DIII schools have the most relaxed NCAA recruiting rules of all the division levels. Similar to NCAA DII, they are the same for all sports: