How to use the NCAA women’s hockey recruiting rules and calendar
The NCAA is constantly updating the recruiting rules and calendar to better the recruiting process for student-athletes and college coaches. Below is a look at what hockey recruits and their families need to know about the NCAA women’s hockey recruiting process.
- Early recruiting: Just because college coaches can’t contact hockey recruits until after their sophomore year, doesn’t mean early recruiting isn’t happening. College coaches attend tournaments, college camps and combines to evaluate talent as young as 8th grade. Recruits’ high school and club coaches may also receive a call or email from college coaches to let them know they have their eye on the athlete.
- Communication and verbal offers: Starting June 15 after the recruit’s sophomore year, Division 1 college coaches can begin to contact recruits and make verbal offers.
- Official and unofficial visits: Unofficial and official college visits are permitted starting August 1 of the recruit’s sophomore year. During these visits, recruits can engage with college coaches, talk about recruiting and explore campus.
- Accepting Scholarships: If a recruit is accepting a scholarship offer from an NCAA institution that use the National Letter of Intent (NLI), they will be asked to sign an NLI and athletic aid agreement to officially accept their offer. Student-athletes can view the National Signing Day dates on the NLI website.
When can hockey coaches start communicating with you?
In May 2019, the NCAA released new recruiting rules that prohibit NCAA Division 1 college coaches from contacting student-athletes until after June 15 of the recruit’s sophomore year. This rule not only effects communication between coaches and athletes but also communication between college coaches and club or high school coaches.
Previously, college coaches have found loopholes in the NCAA recruiting rules that allowed them to communicate with hockey recruits and extend verbal offers through the athlete’s club or high school coach. Now, college coaches can contact club or high school coaches to ask for general feedback on a recruit but are prohibited from discussing financial offers, recruiting statements, etc., until after June 15 of the recruit’s sophomore year.
Student-athletes shouldn’t wait until this date to start the recruiting process, though. Recruits should start the recruiting process by creating a strong NCSA Recruiting Profile and highlight video and researching college hockey programs to build a list of target schools.
NCAA rule changes for women’s hockey
Over the years, the NCAA has made necessary changes to the recruiting rules and calendar to create an equal and positive recruiting experience for all recruits. In 2019, the NCAA addressed the growth of early recruiting across multiple sports by announcing changes to the recruiting rules.
- Division 1 college coaches are prohibited from communicating with recruits until June 15 after the recruit’s sophomore year. Even if a recruit initiates contact prior to this date, the coach cannot engage in conversation.
- College coaches are permitted to make verbal offers starting August 1 prior to a recruit’s junior year.
The NCAA hopes that these changes will allow recruits more time to develop as athletes and as students and enjoy the recruiting experience.
NCAA Division 1 women’s hockey recruiting rules
The NCAA Division 1 hockey recruiting rules and calendar are known to be the most restrictive across all the NCAA divisions.
- Any time:
- Recruits can receive non-recruiting materials at any time. This includes questionnaires, camp brochures, nonathletic institutional publications and official NCAA educational materials.
- June 15 of sophomore year:
- College coaches and recruits may begin communicating via phone and digitally, including through emails, text messages and direct messages.
- August 1 of junior year:
- Recruits can begin scheduling unofficial and official visits. During these visits, they can meet with college coaches on campus to discuss recruiting.
- College coaches can begin making verbal scholarship offers.
- Off-campus contact is permitted at the recruit’s school or home.
NCAA Division 2 women’s hockey recruiting rules
Currently, there are no NCAA Division 2 women’s hockey programs.
NCAA Division 3 women’s hockey recruiting rules
NCAA Division 3 schools adhere to the most relaxed recruiting rules of the three NCAA divisions. These rules apply to all Division 3 sports.
- Any time:
- Recruiting materials can be sent to athletes at any time.
- All contact between college coaches and recruits is permitted at any time.
- Recruits can go on an unlimited number of unofficial visits at any time.
- After sophomore year:
- Off-campus communication between an athlete and coaches can begin following the athlete’s sophomore year.
- January 1 of junior year:
- Recruits can schedule official visits to explore campus and meet with the college coach to discuss recruiting.
ACHA women’s hockey recruiting rules
The ACHA is made up primarily of club hockey programs at the collegiate level. While the ACHA does not follow the same recruiting rules as the NCAA, the association does have its own eligibility requirements that student-athletes must meet. Recruits can review these requirements and the ACHA rules on the ACHA website.
2019–20 NCAA women’s hockey recruiting calendar
Dead periods: During dead periods, coaches are prohibited from contacting recruits or their parents. Digital communication between recruits and coaches is still permitted.
- Nov. 11–14, 2019 (Monday through Thursday of the initial week for the signing of the National Letter of Intent)
- Mar. 19, 2020 – Mar. 23, 2020 (noon). (The day prior to the NCAA Division 1 Women’s Ice Hockey Championship to noon on the day after the match.)
Contact period: All dates that are not mentioned as a dead period should be treated like a contact period, in which all communications between families and coaches are fair game.