College and University Blog

College Athletic Recruiting Process and the NCAA

The collegiate athletic recruiting process is a complex web of rules, deadlines and eligibility requirements. It begins during the athlete’s first year of high school when college coaches are on the prowl for new talent.

The problem for athletes is that nearly 6% or less will compete at a college level, which causes the competition for playing positions to become extremely severe. (NCAA) Institutions and the coaching faculty that represents them will also show zeal for recruiting specific talent because the appeal of many is that the great capacities of prospective recruits can bring about future team victories, and so much of the school’s profit can come from popular athletic programs.

To that end, the process of athletic recruitment, without the governance of the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletics Association), would be pell-mell at best.

The NCAA is an organization that oversees and regulates the operation of college-level athletics. High school students must be aware of the NCAA requirements and rules in order to be eligible to participate in college level sports.

NCAA Basic Information

Four Periods

During the midst of recruiting, contact between college coaches and athletes is broken into four phases as stipulated by the NCAA.

Contact Period

The contact period is a time in which the coach from the college of interest can visit the athlete at his or her home and can talk face-to-face with the student or the student’s parents during off-campus visits.

Evaluation Period

The duration of the evaluation period is reserved for the athletic department staff to make evaluations of the student athlete’s performance and abilities. The coach may visit a game or a practice, but no contact can be made with the student.

Quiet Period

The quiet period is a time where the student and the coach or athletic department staff may visit or have contact, however, on the university campus only.

Dead Period

During the dead period, the athletic staff cannot visit the student on or off campus, nor can the student make contact with the staff during a college visit he or she may make.

The times for each of the periods are specified by the NCAA depending on the the sport/division. Recruiting Calendar

Campus Visits

Official Visits

In the course of either the contact, evaluation or quiet periods, a college athletic department can extend an invitation to the student athlete to visit the campus, known as an Official Visit. In which case, expenses including travel, food, room and board are paid for by the institution. An athlete is allowed five official visits and high school transcripts and standardized testing scores must be submitted before a campus visit can be made.

Unofficial Visits

A student may also visit apart from any school initiated sojourn during the contact, evaluation and quiet periods, however, expenses must be paid for by the student.

NCAA Initial Eligibility

A student athlete must be sure that his academics are stellar and that his or her standardized testing scores are high as well. The NCAA requires that any athlete wishing to compete in college-level athletics must be certified with the NCAA Clearinghouse.

National Letters of Intent

National Letters of Intent (NLI) are instruments that contractually bind the student to play for that institution. Once a student signs an NLI, he or she has committed to attend that school and retribution is attached to breaching.

NLI Guidelines, Deadlines and Penalty Provisions

More Research is Required

The information above offers a small portion of the basic knowledge and understanding of the intricate and delicacies of the college level athletic recruiting process. More research and academic preparation is required of an athlete should he or she decide to participate at this level. Peruse the NCAA official site, contact athletic departments. Remember: Academics is the most important thing to get right while in high school.