New NCAA recruiting rules = better college matches
It’s been widely reported how proposal 2017-1 banned any recruiting contact between college coaches and PSAs (prospective student athletes) until Sept. 1 of the recruit’s junior year.
Many of us know how many D1 programs there are (71 men’s, 112 women’s) and how many scholarships each program can give (12.6 men’s, 12 women’s) if fully funded (roughly half are).
But what’s much less reported and harder to find is the number of college transfers every year. As a community, we kept saying college is a 40-year, not a 4-year decision, and then we asked high school freshman to make this decision anyway.
As a company, we take great pride in our free College Matching Service.
But during webinars or at team recruiting nights, the irony of showing freshman how to filter college programs by major wasn’t lost on us. More time to develop their college preferences, not more filters, was what they needed.
We’re excited for this change as we believe it will help recruits focus on academics, enjoy their high school experience, better develop their college preferences and ultimately get recruited to the right school. We hope that it will reverse the increase in college transfers as recruits will have more time to find the right fit both on and off the field.
Here’s what we know based on our understanding. Formal legislation is yet to be published.
Players and Parents
Men’s and women’s D1 college coaches may not make off-campus contact with PSAs or reach out by phone, social media or during unofficial campus visits. So no meeting with the coaching staff during unofficial visits. We understand that prospect days (on-campus) are permitted but contact is limited to feedback on the recruit’s athletic ability, not their recruiting process.
Parents fall under the same rules as PSAs and thus may not act an intermediary. Club and high school coaches may not be used to circumvent these recruiting contact rules. Specifically, direct messaging or communication about verbal offers through these third parties is not permissible.
It is our understanding that college coaches can still speak with club and high school coaches in an evaluative process, such as about a recruit’s play at an event or their position on a college’s recruiting radar. With contact between college coaches and families restricted, we believe that a recruit’s coaches will increasingly assist in their recruiting process.
Based on our conversations, college coaches will still be targeting and recruiting high school underclassman. They will benefit from seeing recruits play more and being able to commit to a more developed player, also having a longer academic track record to evaluate and less concern over recommits. We recommend recruits continue to message coaches at their target schools and share their highlight videos and academic updates.
It’s widely understood that existing verbal commitments will be grandfathered and honored by college coaches. However, PSAs in the 2019, 2020 and 2021 classes that have already verbally committed will be unable to speak with the coaching staffs at their future schools.
Given this rule is effective immediately, many families nearing the end of the recruiting process in it’s current accelerated timeline will have to wait. We imagine this is frustrating, like walking into class to turn in a paper and finding the due date has been pushed back even though you were ready. And now communication is more limited. We hope that the delay results in a better college decision for the recruit. We also understand the counterpoint that deciding between Duke, UVA and Cornell is not inherently a bad decision. Again, it’s typically a commitment to the admissions process, not admission, as the recruit doesn’t have their test scores yet.
As the above illustrates, it’s a delicate issue as parents want the best for their children and lacrosse is a tool to get into a great academic institution. These rule changes do not change that, they just require patience in a process that has been in short supply of it.
Last, this only impacts 190 men’s and women’s NCAA Division I programs, not the 753 Division II and III men’s and women’s programs (includes new programs). We believe college lacrosse at any level matters and include over 1,500 programs in our college matching service.
Club and HS Coaches
Many club coaches we’ve spoken with are excited given committed players can be question marks for attending practice and events, which can frustrate other players on the team trying to get recruited. This dynamic within teams has helped fuel the pressure, often premature, to commit.
As mentioned, club and high school coaches may not be used to circumvent these recruiting contact rules. Specifically, direct messaging or communication about verbal offers through these third parties is not permissible. It is our understanding that college coaches can still speak with club coaches in an evaluative process, such as about a recruit’s play at an event or their position on a college’s recruiting radar.
Enforcing these new rules falls to compliance officers at colleges, who will be screening calls more closely as clubs can no longer set up a call between college coaches and recruits. While it’s understood that existing offers will be honored and grandfathered in, be mindful that some college coaches may use the rule change to change their position. Club coaches may want to validate their recruit’s commitments.
We believe club coaches will gain influence as a result of the new rules. High school coaches too given recruits won’t be committing as underclassman. Organization will be key for club coaches as the floodgates will be opening for all recruits at once.