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2019–20 NCAA Women’s Water Polo Recruiting Rules and Calendar

Every year, the NCAA releases updated recruiting rules and calendar for each NCAA sponsored sport. These rules are designed to maintain a healthy and equal recruiting process for both college coaches and student-athletes with clear guidelines on when and how coaches and recruits can communicate. Unfortunately, these rules can be confusing and overwhelming for student-athletes and their families. We’ve created this section to help break down the water polo recruiting rules and calendar for student-athletes and their families and provide updates on changes that the NCAA makes to the recruiting process.

Using the NCAA water polo recruiting rules and calendar

Student-athletes and their families can quickly become overwhelmed by the college recruiting process. Whether it’s contacting a college coach or scheduling a recruiting visit, the NCAA has rules and guidelines for every step of the recruiting process. We’ve outlined the NCAA water polo recruiting rules to help student-athletes and their families understand how to navigate the process.

  1. Early recruiting: College coaches cannot contact student-athletes until June 15 after a recruit’s sophomore year. Before this date, college coaches dedicate their time to evaluating recruits online, at tournaments, college camps and showcases. Coaches will also contact high school and club coaches to let them know they are interested in a student-athlete.
  2. Communication and verbal offers: All communication between college coaches and student-athletes, as well as verbal offers, are prohibited until after June 15 of a recruit’s sophomore year.
  3. Official and unofficial visits: Starting August 1 of junior year, potential recruits can begin to schedule official and unofficial recruiting visits. Unofficial visits are permitted before August 1, as long as student-athletes do not engage in recruiting conversations with college coaches during the visit.
  4. Accepting scholarships: Student-athletes officially accept a scholarship offer by signing the National Letter of Intent (NLI). Water polo athletes can sign a scholarship offer starting on National Signing Day in November through the beginning of August. Student-athletes can view the National Sign Day dates on the NLI website.

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When can communication with college water polo coaches start?

Beginning June 15 after a recruit’s sophomore year, student-athletes can start receiving phone calls, texts and emails from college water polo coaches at the Division 1 and 2 levels. Prior to this date, no form of communication is permitted between college coaches and recruits. However, college coaches are still permitted to contact high school and club coaches to request general feedback on recruits. Communication is permitted at any time between Division 3 college coaches and student-athletes.

There are many ways that student-athletes should prepare for the recruiting process before college coaches can begin contacting them. Student-athletes are encouraged to create a list of target water polo programs where they meet the athletic and academic standards. To market their athletic talents, student-athletes should create a recruiting profile and video that showcase their skillset. Once college coaches can begin contacting recruits, student-athletes will be prepared to begin the relationship building process by first reaching out to express their interest in the program and sharing their recruiting profile and video in correspondence with coaches at their target schools.

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New NCAA water polo recruiting rules for 2019

To create a fair and positive recruiting experience for all NCAA student-athletes and college coaches, the association re-evaluates the recruiting rules and calendar each year. In recent years, the NCAA has been dedicated to curbing early recruiting across all sports. In May 2019, the NCAA announced a change to the recruiting rules that prohibits all communication between college coaches and student-athletes until after June 15 of an athlete’s sophomore year. The association also revised the date that student-athletes can start to schedule unofficial and official visits to August 1 of their junior year. The purpose of pushing back the date allows recruits more time to enjoy their high school experience and develop as athletes and students.

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NCAA Division 1 water polo recruiting rules

Student-athletes will find that Division 1 sports must follow the most restrictive NCAA recruiting rules. These rules differ from sport to sport.

  • Any time: There is no start date for when student-athletes can receive non-recruiting materials (questionnaires, camp brochures, nonathletic institutional publications and official NCAA educational materials).
  • June 15 after sophomore year: All communication between college coaches and student-athletes—including phone calls, text message, direct message and email—are prohibited until after this date. Recruits can begin receiving recruiting materials and verbal scholarship offers.
  • August 1 of junior year: Student-athletes can begin scheduling unofficial visits and official visits.
  • August 1 of junior year: Off-campus evaluations at the recruit’s school or home can begin.

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NCAA Division 2 water polo recruiting rules

These recruiting rules are more flexible than those followed by Division 1 programs. All NCAA Division 2 schools follow the same recruiting rules.

  • Non-recruiting materials: Student-athletes may receive camp brochures, questionnaires and NCAA materials and non-athletic recruiting publications at any time.
  • Printed recruiting materials: Recruits can begin to receive printed recruiting materials starting June 15 after their sophomore year.
  • Telephone calls: Starting June 15 after the recruit’s sophomore year, college coaches may start calling student-athletes.
  • Off-campus contact: Coaches and athletes and their parents are permitted to engage in off-campus communications starting June 15 after the recruit’s sophomore year.
  • Unofficial visits: Student-athletes may schedule unofficial visits at any time.
  • Official visits: Student-athletes may schedule official visits starting June 15 after their sophomore year.

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NCAA Division 3 water polo recruiting rules

Every NCAA Division 3 sport follows the same recruiting rules, which are the most lenient recruiting rules in the NCAA.

  • Recruiting materials: Student-athletes may receive recruiting materials at any time.
  • Telephone calls: There is no restriction on when college coaches can call student-athletes.
  • Digital communications: Digital communication between college coaches and recruits is permitted at any time.
  • Off-campus contact: Beginning after the recruit’s sophomore year, off-campus communication is permitted.
  • Official visits: Beginning January 1 of their junior year, student-athletes may schedule official visits.
  • Unofficial visits: Student-athletes may schedule unofficial visits at any time.

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NAIA water polo recruiting rules

Athletes who were not picked up by an NCAA program are generally recruited by NAIA programs, which means the NAIA recruiting process begins later. Student-athletes will find that the NAIA enforces fewer recruiting rules and guidelines than the NCAA, which allows college coaches to contact recruits at any point in their high school career. NAIA coaches focus their recruiting efforts on athletes that are a good fit athletically, academically and socially.

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2019–20 NCAA water polo recruiting calendar

Within the NCAA recruiting rules and calendar for all divisions are four different periods. The first is a contact period, which is when college coaches and recruits are permitted to communicate. Next is an evaluation period when coaches can complete athlete evaluations. The last two periods are an NCAA water polo dead period and quiet period, which allow for a break during the recruiting process. During these two periods, college coaches are prohibited from contacting student-athletes.

The first day that college coaches are permitted to contact student-athletes is the official start of the recruiting process for both Division 1 and 2 water polo programs. This date is June 15 after the recruit’s sophomore year. For a full list of all contact, evaluation, quiet and dead periods, visit the NCAA website.

Review the NCAA Division 1 and Division 2 recruiting calendar.

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