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Unsigned Seniors: It is NOT Too Late to Get Recruited with Help

Is senior year too late to get recruited? The short answer is no. For most NCAA sports, coaches can begin contacting recruits starting June 15 after the athlete’s sophomore year. Between this time and high school graduation, student-athletes determined to compete at the college level will dedicate a great deal of time to researching their college options, connecting with coaches, attending recruiting events and visiting college campuses.

Ultimately, student-athletes hope that come National Signing Day in the fall, they will have an offer to accept and sign. But this is not the reality for every student-athlete, and many recruits are left wondering “is it too late to get recruited senior year?” Luckily, college coaches are known to recruit well into the summer months, which means unsigned seniors can still find opportunities to compete at the college level.

When do college coaches stop recruiting?

While many college coaches have no problem filling their roster during the fall months, recruiting doesn’t always go as planned. Some college coaches are left with open roster spots that they must continue to recruit for through the summer. Here are the main reasons why college coaches may find themselves rushing to fill last-minute roster openings.

  1. Some programs simply aren’t done filling their upcoming rookie class. Despite their efforts, the recruiting process is competitive and college coaches aren’t able to convince every athlete they recruit to commit to their program.
  2. Committing to a college is a big decision and sometimes athletes change their minds. When an athlete decommits, it leaves college coaches scrambling to fill the open spot.
  3. In some cases, current roster holders transfer to play for another program, whether it be for athletic, academic or financial reasons. This creates a last-minute opportunity for a recruit to earn a roster spot.
  4. When a program experiences a coaching change, they occasionally lose both current roster holders and committed recruits. The new coach is often faced with the challenge of filling these open roster spots. This is especially common in winter and spring sports.

NCSA works with college coaches across the country to match unsigned seniors with programs that still have roster availability. If you’re not part of the NCSA network yet, it’s not too late to join and get recruited.

What you need to know about National Signing Day and signing periods

More than 650 four-year institutions use the National Letter of Intent (NLI). Student-athletes who have been offered an athletic scholarship from one of these institutions will be asked to sign an NLI and an athletic aid agreement to accept their offer.

Even after the signing period has passed, student-athletes can still commit to a program as either a recruited or unrecruited walk-on.

On January 15, 2021, the National Letter of Intent announced new signing dates for prospective football and basketball athletes signing their NLI during 2020-2021 and enrolling in the 2021-2022 school year. The signing dates for both D1 football and basketball were extended to August 1, 2021.

Below are the current 2020-2021 signing dates for all sports:

Sports(s)Initial Signing DateFinal Signing Date
D1 Basketball (Early Period)November 11, 2020November 2020
D1 Basketball (Regular Period)April 14, 2021NEW: August 1, 2021
D1 Football (Early Period)December 16, 2020December 18, 2020
D1and D2 Football (Midyear JC transfer)December 16, 2020January 15, 2021
D1 and D2 Football (Regular Period)February 3, 2021

NEW: D1: August 1, 2021

D2: August 1, 2021

All Other Division 1 and 2 SportsNovember 11, 2020August 1, 2021

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