athletic recruiting

The NCAA recently announced a new set of rules for high school athletes hoping to play Division I sports in college. The changes went into effect in April 2018 and primarily affect the timeline students must follow when it comes to in-person communication with coaches. All sports are affected except the following: football, men’s and women’s basketball, and men’s and women’s lacrosse, which follow their own unique timelines.

These adjustments are intended to give students more time to research and visit colleges, come up with a thoughtful list of target schools, and feel less pressure to rush into a decision in senior year. To help you understand whether or not a student may be impacted by these adjustments, we’ve outlined some of the basics.

What’s Changed

  • Official campus visits, which are those funded by the recruiting college, can now begin September 1 of junior year, one full year earlier than previously allowed.
  • Coaches cannot have recruiting conversations at camps with any prospects prior to September 1 of junior year. Students can still attend camps prior to 11th grade; they just can’t have recruiting talks with coaches or be extended a verbal offer of any kind before then.
  • Coaches can no longer coordinate unofficial campus visits, or talk to students during these visits, until September 1 of junior year. (Unofficial visits are those fully funded by the student or their family.)

What Hasn’t Changed

  • Freshman and sophomore year are still vital when it comes to performance and profile building. That means younger athletes should still be discussing strategy and goals with their high school coach, building an online athletic resume and video reel, and researching colleges and teams.
  • Rules regarding email, letters, and phone calls between recruits and coaches. Check out the organization’s comprehensive Guide for the College-Bound Student Athlete, which includes a detailed timeline recruitment timeline, to better understand the process for each sport.


Written by Emily Toffelmire
Emily Toffelmire is a member of College Coach’s team of college admissions experts. Prior to joining College Coach, Emily worked as an admissions officer at University of Southern California as well as a college counselor at high schools in the US and Thailand. Visit our website to learn more about Emily Toffelmire.