How to use the NCAA women’s golf recruiting rules and calendar
Each academic year, the NCAA establishes a recruiting calendar that outlines when and how college coaches can contact student-athletes. The NCAA golf recruiting rules are designed to prevent coaches from emailing and calling student-athletes too early and too often. Understanding the contact rules will help you maximize your opportunities and establish relationships with women’s golf coaches at the schools you’re interested in. Plus, it’s an easy way to check that your recruiting is on track. For example, if you know coaches are allowed to reach out to athletes after their sophomore year, then you want to make sure to get on their radar before that point.
Recent changes to the NCAA women’s golf recruiting timeline
In May 2019, the NCAA proposed new golf recruiting rules that affect Division 1 college coaches, with an objective to curb early recruiting. In some sports, student-athletes were committing as early as freshman year, and the NCAA wanted to provide athletes with ample time to make their college decision, just like their non-sport peers. However, in women’s golf, these changes will mostly go unnoticed. According to NCAA research, 19 percent of women’s golfers receive their first contact from a college coach during their sophomore year, 47 percent during junior year, and 14 percent during senior year. With most of the recruiting happening from sophomore to senior year, the golf recruiting timeline will remain the same.
When can college golf coaches contact women’s golf recruits?
NCAA Division 1 and Division 2 golf coaches follow specific regulations established by the NCAA. They can begin to contact recruits starting June 15 after their sophomore year, which includes calling, texting, emailing and sending direct messages. They can even make verbal offers to student-athletes at this time. Then, beginning August 1 before junior year, recruits can partake in unofficial and official visits. Division 3 and NAIA college coaches, on the other hand, aren’t required to adhere to the same set of rules and can reach out to recruits at any point in high school. But most of these coaches start recruiting during junior year and into senior year when test scores become available.
Don’t read that and think that recruiting starts junior year – A lot of work is done before this point. Women’s golf coaches are actively researching and evaluating recruits, so they know exactly who to contact when the time comes. They keep a close eye on national rankings, such as the Junior Golf Scoreboard, the American Junior Golf Association and Golfweek, evaluate swing videos, track scoring averages at tournaments and prioritize high academic recruits. If you’re interested in competing at a top golf program, it’s important to be proactive early on. Research the different division levels to understand what scores and tournament experience you need to be recruited, and register for the NCAA Eligibility Center to ensure you meet academic requirements. Then, you’ll need to create a profile that highlights your swing video and start emailing it to college coaches.
NCAA Division 1 women’s golf recruiting rules
NCAA Division 1 sports adhere to the most restrictive set of rules:
- Any time: College coaches can send recruits general materials, such as questionnaires, camp information, non-athletic information about the school and materials published by the NCAA.
- June 15 after sophomore year: Student-athletes can receive personal contact and recruiting materials. Coaches can call athletes, send text messages, direct messages and emails, and make verbal offers to their top prospects.
- August 1 before junior year: Recruits can take unofficial and official visits to schools. Student-athletes are permitted to take one official visit per school and are limited to five total official visits. For example, a student-athlete might take three official visits in the fall of junior year, and then two in the spring.
NCAA Division 2 women’s golf recruiting rules
NCAA Division 2 recruiting rules are slightly more lenient than Division 1, mostly around visits:
- Any time: Like Division 1, coaches can send recruits general materials, including questionnaires, camp brochures, NCAA materials and non-athletic information about the school. Student-athletes can go on unofficial visits and aren’t restricted in the number of unofficial visits they take.
- June 15 after sophomore year: College coaches can call, text, email, direct message and conduct off-campus contact with an athlete and/or their family. Student-athletes can also begin taking official visits at this time. They’re allowed one visit per college, with unlimited total visits to Division 2 schools.
NCAA Division 3 women’s golf recruiting rules
NCAA Division 3 doesn’t have limits on when coaches can contact recruits. The only restrictions in place are around off-campus contact and official visits. Golf recruits will find that most Division 3 coaches recruit during junior year and into senior year as well.
- Any time: Student-athletes can receive recruiting materials. Coaches can call, email, text and send direct messages to student-athletes. Recruits can go on unofficial visits at any point during high school and aren’t restricted in the number of unofficial visits they take.
- After sophomore year: Coaches can contact student-athletes off campus.
- January 1 of junior year: Student-athletes can start taking official visits. They’re allowed one visit per college and can take as many unofficial visits to Division 3 programs as they like.
2019-20 NCAA women’s golf recruiting calendar
Throughout the school year, there are periods when women’s golf coaches are restricted from talking with a recruit and/or their parents in-person. In other words, during a dead period, coaches can’t talk to recruits on their college campus, a camp, or the athlete’s school.
NCAA Division 1
Dead Period: November 11-14, 2019
NCAA Division 2
Dead Period: November 11-13, 2019
NCAA Division 3
Year-round recruiting permitted
National signing day for golf
Getting a verbal offer from a college coach is exciting, but nothing is official until you sign the National Letter of Intent (NLI). The NLI is a binding a contract between a prospective student-athlete and the college: the student-athlete is solidifying her commitment to the school and in return, the college is promising to provide an athletic scholarship for that academic year. Signing the NLI essentially marks the end of a recruiting journey. For all Division 1 sports, except for football and basketball, the signing period for seniors starts November 13, 2019 and ends August 1, 2020.
The 2019-20 school year is the first year that all athletes (outside of football and basketball) can begin signing the NLI and securing scholarships starting November 13, 2019 through August 1, 2020. Previously, there was an early signing period, followed by a break, and then a regular signing period in the second half of senior year. As a result of this change, more and more recruits are signing the NLI earlier than before and committing during the first half of their senior year.