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2018–19 NCAA Volleyball Recruiting Rules and Calendar

Women's volleyball recruiting rules and calendar.

Volleyball is well known for its ramped-up recruiting timeline, with Division 1 coaches looking for talented athletes as young as 8th grade and freshman year of high school. While the NCAA is trying to crack down on the growing trend of coaches providing offers to underclassmen, the reality is that the volleyball recruiting process is incredibly competitive, and coaches are looking to lock down top talent as soon as possible.

The NCAA volleyball recruiting rules and calendar are in place to regulate how and when coaches can start proactively contacting. The NCAA provides Division 1 coaches with the strictest rules, as they tend to start the recruiting process the earliest of all the divisions. Division 2 coaches also have a specific set of rules around when coaches can start reaching out to recruits, but they are slightly more relaxed than at the D1 level. Division 3 and NAIA coaches have the most freedom in their recruiting timelines and are able to contact athletes at most times.

How do the NCAA volleyball recruiting rules and calendar impact your recruiting process?

We can’t stress this enough: The NCAA volleyball recruiting rules and calendar regulate when coaches can proactively reach out to prospects. These rules are in place to prevent elite athletes from getting bombarded with recruiting interest at a young age and provide some relief from recruiting contact at certain points throughout the year. 

However, athletes can—and should—reach out to college coaches at any point. Once an athlete has decided that they are committed to playing college volleyball, they should do their research, figure out which schools she’s interested and then start proactively contacting coaches. The athlete should fill out the program’s recruiting questionnaire (usually available on the school’s volleyball website) to get on the coach’s radar and start getting alerts from that coach. She can also send initial emails with information about who she is as a student-athlete, and she can call the coach.

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When can college volleyball coaches contact you?

NCAA Division 1 volleyball coaches can contact athletes starting Sept. 1 of an athlete’s junior year of high school. NCAA Division 2 volleyball coaches can start reaching out to athletes June 15 before junior year. Electronic communications (such as emails, texts, instant messages, etc.) and phone calls are acceptable at this time.

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NCAA volleyball recruiting rule changes in 2018

Effective April 25, 2018, the NCAA passed new recruiting rule changes intended to slow down the trend of coaches offering scholarships to athletes as young as 7th and 8th grade. While the impact of these rules on the volleyball recruiting timeline is still unknown, the intent is to give athletes a little more time to figure out what they are looking for in a college and develop their skills before they get bombarded with scholarship offers.

Here's a quick breakdown of the changes, which are in effect for all Division 1 college volleyball teams:

  • Official visits: Recruits can now take official visits starting September 1 of their junior year of high school. In the past, official visits weren't permitted until the athlete's senior year of high school, so this rule is actually bumping them up!
  • College camps and clinics: Recruits and college coaches are not allowed to have any recruiting conversations during camps prior to September 1 of the athlete's junior year of high school. Previously, there weren't any official rules that prevented coaches from talking about recruiting to underclassmen during camps. In fact, it had become common practice for college coaches to extend verbal scholarship offers to top recruits during their camps.
  • Unofficial visits: College athletic departments are not allowed to be involved in a recruit's unofficial visits before September 1 of their junior year. Quick refresher: Unofficial visits are any campus visits paid for entirely by the recruit's family. Before the rule change, unofficial visits were an easy way for underclassmen to visit a college camps, meet with the coach and get an early verbal offer. However, if athletes want to take unofficial visits now, they cannot schedule them with the coach until September 1 of junior year. Before that time, they should treat the unofficial visit just like any other student would. If the recruit happens to bump into the coach on campus, they can't have any recruiting conversations at that time.

Overall, these new recruiting rules won’t change the volleyball recruiting process that much. The biggest shift will come from moving up the official visits date to September 1 of junior year. For D1 prospects, the recruiting floodgates will open September 1 of junior year, with all contact and official visits starting on the same day. Recruits must have all their research and groundwork done before September 1, so they can hit the ground running when that day comes.

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NCAA Division 1 volleyball recruiting rules

The NCAA Division 1 volleyball recruiting rules restrict when and how D1 volleyball coaches can actively start communicating with prospects. The most important date for D1 volleyball players is September 1 of junior year. At this point, almost all forms of coach contact are allowed.

  • Recruiting questionnaires, camp invites, NCAA materials and non-athletic publications: Any time
  • Private electronic correspondence (emails, texts, instant messages, DMs, faxes): September 1 of junior year
  • Phone calls: September 1 of junior year
  • Official visits: September 1 of junior year
  • Unofficial visits: September 1 of junior year (recruits can take unofficial visits any time as just a student, but they aren’t able to coordinate the visit with a coach until September 1 of junior year), unlimited unofficial visits
  • Off-campus contact: July 1 prior to senior year of high school
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NCAA Division 2 volleyball recruiting rules

The most important date in the NCAA Division 2 volleyball recruiting rules is June 15 before junior year of high school. At this time all contact is permitted.

  • Recruiting questionnaires, camp brochures and non-athletic publications: Any time
  • Unofficial visits: Any time, unlimited
  • Private electronic correspondence (emails, texts, instant messages, DMs, faxes): June 15 before junior year
  • Phone calls: June 15 before junior year
  • Official visits: June 15 before junior year
  • In-person, off-campus contact: June 15 before junior year
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NCAA Division 3 volleyball recruiting rules

D3 volleyball colleges have the most relaxed NCAA recruiting rules of all the division levels. Most contact is allowed at any time, recruits are only restricted in when they can start taking official visits and have off-campus contact with coaches.

  • Recruiting materials: Athletes can receive recruiting materials at any time.
  • Phone calls and electronic communications: There is no limit on when college coaches can call or digitally message athletes.
  • Unofficial visits: Any time, unlimited
  • Off-campus contact: After the athlete’s sophomore year, college coaches may begin to conduct off-campus contact.
  • Official visits: Athletes can begin taking official visit after January 1 of their junior year.
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NAIA volleyball recruiting rules

The NAIA gives a lot of freedom to its coaches in the recruiting process, and it does not restrict when or how coaches can reach out to high school athletes. Though there are fewer rules, NAIA coaches do tend to start the recruiting process a little later than NCAA Division 1 or Division 2 coaches. 

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2018-19 NCAA volleyball recruiting calendar

The NCAA volleyball recruiting calendar works in coordination with the NCAA volleyball recruiting rules. The rules explain when coaches can contact recruits based on the recruit’s year in high school. The calendar explains what type of contact is permitted throughout the school year.

For example, imagine it’s November 12 of a D1 recruit’s junior year. The NCAA volleyball recruiting rules show that the recruit can be contacted by college coaches, as well as go on unofficial and official visits. However, according to the NCAA volleyball recruiting calendar, November 12 falls in a dead period, so that recruit shouldn’t plan on taking a campus visit, because D1 coaches aren’t permitted to have in-person contact with recruits during dead periods.

The D2 NCAA volleyball recruiting calendar is much less restrictive than the D1 calendar. For D2 volleyball, all dates not specified as part of the dead period should be treated like a contact period. D3 volleyball doesn’t have a recruiting calendar, with the entire school year treated like a contact period.

Contact Period: During this time, coaches can email, text, call, direct message and contact athletes and their parents through any NCAA-approved method.

  • Division 1: Sept. 1 – Nov. 11, 2018; Nov. 16–30, 2018; Feb. 15 – April 30, 2019; May 31 – July 31, 2019

Evaluation Period: Throughout the evaluation period, coaches are allowed to watch an athlete compete in person or visit them at their school or home. However, there are some specific rules about where coaches can evaluate athletes, so pay close attention to whether coaches can evaluate athletes at school events, non-school events or both.

  • Division 1: Thursday of the NCAA Division 1 Women’s Volleyball Championship through the Sunday immediately following the championship, a college’s coaching staff is allowed to evaluate on one day only and may attend only one event on that day, as long as it’s within a 30-mile radius of the championship site. However, coaches cannot attend events that occur at the same time as any games associated with the NCAA championship. 

Quiet Period: The quiet period is a time when coaches may not have face-to-face contact with recruits off the college campus, such as at an athlete’s school, or at an athlete’s games and tournaments. In other words, the coach can only talk to recruits on the coach’s campus or through any other approved electronic means of communication.

  • Division 1: Aug. 1–31, 2018; Dec. 1 – Jan. 31, 2019; Feb. 1–14, 2019; May 1–30, 2019

Dead Period: During the dead period, coaches may not have any in-person contact with recruits or their families. Coaches can still keep in touch with recruits via phone, email, social media and other approved electronic means of communication.

  • Division 1: Nov. 12–15, 2018
  • Division 2: April 15 (7 a.m.) – 17 (7 a.m.), 2019 (during the 48 hours prior to 7 a.m. on the initial date for the spring signing of the National Letter of Intent)
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