The first question student-athletes ask as they kick off their recruiting journey is: when can women’s basketball coaches contact me? NCAA Division 1 college coaches can officially start contacting student-athletes on September 1 of their junior year, while NCAA Division 2 coaches are allowed to contact athletes June 15 after sophomore year. But don’t be mistaken—coaches actively recruit behind the scenes before this time. This section breaks down the NCAA basketball recruiting calendar to help student-athletes maximize their opportunities for connecting with coaches.
The NCAA basketball recruiting calendar was created to prevent college coaches from calling and emailing student-athletes too early and often. It outlines specific time periods that dictate when and how college coaches can contact recruits. While this mostly affects elite athletes who are recruited early in the process, it’s important for families to understand how they can use the calendar to maximize their opportunities and ensure their recruiting remains on track.
For example, if we know that women’s basketball coaches can personally reach out starting September 1 of junior year and student-athletes aren’t hearing from coaches at this time, then they need to reevaluate their target list of schools and potentially contact new coaches. Plus, these dates aren’t the only time periods when college coaches are recruiting. Even when they can’t contact an athlete directly, coaches are still scouting and evaluating players behind the scenes. And in women’s basketball, recruits can call coaches and talk to them on the phone. As long as the recruit is the one initiating the contact (and not the coach), they can talk via telephone. The best way to use this calendar is to know when coaches are contacting and evaluating athletes and get on their radar ahead of time.
Technically speaking, NCAA Division 1 college coaches can’t contact student-athletes until September 1 of their junior year, and NCAA Division 2 coaches can’t reach out until June 15 after sophomore year. However, these coaches are actively recruiting before this time. In fact, 78 percent of basketball recruits are connecting with coaches before their junior year.
Coaches build a list of their top prospects by sending questionnaires, evaluating highlight film and watching recruits compete in-person. Additionally, student-athletes and college coaches are allowed to talk on the phone when the student-athlete is the one initiating the contact and calling. Many commitments are happening before junior year as there are no restrictions on when coaches can extend verbal offers to recruits. That’s why we always recommend student-athletes be proactive in their recruiting: build a realistic list of target schools, create a highlight film and email and call college coaches to get on their radar.
NCAA Division 1 college coaches can begin contacting recruits, sending recruiting materials, emailing, texting and calling starting September 1 of an athlete’s junior year. NCAA Division 2 college coaches can reach out slightly earlier—starting June 15 after the athlete’s sophomore year. At any time, both divisions can send general recruiting materials, such as brochures and camp information. NCAA Division 3 and NAIA teams don’t have to follow strict regulations and can contact athletes at any point during high school. However, they typically begin to recruit student-athletes more heavily during junior and senior year.
Remember that even though Division 1 and 2 coaches are limited in when they can directly contact athletes, they are still recruiting and evaluating athletes behind the scenes. Plus, when student-athletes initiate contact and call a college coach, they’re allowed to talk on the phone at any time. Typically, student-athletes will email college coaches and let them know when they plan on calling, or they’ll ask their high school or club coach to help set up a time to talk to a college coach.
There are certain times in the offseason when the NCAA permits college coaches to evaluate their top prospects in person. Typically referred to as an NCAA live period or evaluation period, these crucial stretches in the basketball recruiting calendar give college coaches an opportunity to hit the road and scout players at tournaments—but that is about all they can do. No in-person contact is allowed between college coaches and recruits or their parents during these events. In fact, college coaches sit in their own section, away from families, and even use separate entrances when coming and going. Here are the evaluation periods for women’s basketball:
It’s important for families to know when live periods are taking place and which tournaments college coaches are attending. High school and college games are often scattered throughout the week, making it difficult for college coaches to see prospects compete in person during the season. That’s why a live period is a great time for coaches to evaluate prospects and even scout new players. Keep in mind, though, that coaches come prepared with a list of recruits they want to see. Student-athletes should be proactive in their recruiting and reach out to college coaches before a live period occurs. Sending an introductory email, with a link to their NCSA Recruiting Profile and highlight film, can help student-athletes secure an evaluation during the event.
Each academic year, the NCAA outlines specific types of contact that college coaches are permitted to have at the Division 1 and Division 2 levels. Below is an overview of the NCAA 2021–22 women’s basketball recruiting calendar, the different contact periods and when they occur. Families can layer this information with the women’s basketball recruiting rules to fully maximize their opportunities.
Dead period and recruiting shutdowns: During the dead period, coaches may not have any in-person contact with recruits or their parents. But communication is still allowed to occur via phone, email and social media or other digital communication channels. A recruiting shutdown, on the other hand, means no forms of recruiting are permitted, including contact with college coaches, evaluations, unofficial or official visits, correspondence and making or receiving phone calls.
Quiet period: During a quiet period, athletes can talk to college coaches in-person on their college campus. However, the coach can’t watch recruits compete in-person, visit their school, talk to them at their home or anywhere outside of the college campus.
Evaluation period: Also known as a live period, the evaluation period is the specific time of year when college coaches can watch an athlete compete in person or visit their school. But coaches can’t communicate with recruits (or their parents) off the college campus.
Contact period: During the contact period, all communication between athletes and coaches is fair game.
Like NCAA Division 1, Division 2 coaches must adhere to a specific recruiting calendar that outlines when and how they can contact student-athletes. Here are the important dates to know for the 2021–22 academic year:
In May 2019, the NCAA adopted new rules to curb early recruiting that affect Division 1 college coaches. By limiting coach communication, they aimed to give student-athletes ample time to make their college decision like their non-athlete peers. However, some sports were excluded from these changes because they recently went through a series of rule changes—and women’s basketball was one of them. Therefore, nothing has changed in the basketball recruiting timeline as a result of the new rules. As a reminder, here’s the complete list of NCAA basketball recruiting rules.
NCAA Division 1 sports must adhere to the most restrictive set of rules:
NCAA Division 2 recruiting rules are slightly more lenient than Division 1. They are same across all sports:
Unlike NCAA Division 1 and Division 2, Division 3 coaches don’t have limits on when they can contact recruits. The only restrictions in place are around off-campus contact and official visits.
NAIA coaches don’t face restrictions like NCAA coaches. They manage their own recruiting timelines and can contact student-athletes at any point during high school, including emailing, texting and calling. Athletes will find that most NAIA coaches begin recruiting junior year—after ACT and SAT scores become available—and into senior year.
Like the NAIA, junior college basketball coaches can recruit student-athletes at any point during high school. That includes telephone calls, emails, texts and social media. Student-athletes must complete their junior year of high school to take an official visit to an NJCAA college. Most JUCO programs recruit throughout junior and senior year.
Verbal offers are an exciting part of the recruiting process, but nothing is official until a student-athlete signs the National Letter of Intent (NLI). This binding contract between a student-athlete and the college represents the athlete solidifying their commitment to the school and in return, the college promising to provide an athletic scholarship for that academic year. Signing the NLI essentially marks the end of a student-athlete’s recruiting journey.
For NCAA Division 1 women’s basketball, there are two signing periods: an early signing period in the fall and a regular signing period in the spring. The early signing period is a great opportunity for athletes who have offers from their top schools and want to lock in their commitment. But if a recruit is holding out for another offer or hasn’t made their decision yet, they have the option of signing during the regular signing period. Here are the 2021–22 dates for NCAA basketball signing period:
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.