NCAA Contact Rules

Learn some basic NCAA contact rules that college coaches must follow

The NCAA has a dizzying array of contact rules for different sports and different divisions. Most of the rules in place are designed for coaches and not recruits. Meaning, you can’t really get in trouble with regards to the contact rules. The onus is on them to know and follow the rules set forth by the NCAA

We have covered some basic contact rules below and have provided a link for the free download of the NCAA Guide

The day you start class as a 9th grader is the day you officially become a Prospective Student Athlete (PSA). The NCAA defines “Recruiting” as “any solicitation of a prospect (or your patents or guardian) by a school or a rep of the school” (someone who acts in the schools interest) for the purpose of ultimately getting you enrolled at the school and participating in athletics.

Being recruited means that eventually coaches will be contacting you via phone, mail, and in-person visits to discuss you playing for their school. To level the playing field for schools large and small (and to protect recruits), the NCAA has strict rules governing recruiting and the contacts a coach can have with potential recruits.

The NCAA rulebook is 4 inches thick. Generally speaking, following some basic rules will keep you out of trouble. However, you do need to understand some specifics…

Telephone Calls

In all sports other than football and basketball, phone calls from faculty members and coaches can take place on or after the following dates.

NCAA D1 – College coaches can begin to call you after September 1st at beginning of your junior year.
NCAA D2 – College coaches can begin to call you beginning June 15th before your junior year.
NCAA D3 – Unlike D1 and D2, there are no restrictions as to when a D3 coach can call a prospect in high school. The NCAA feels that smaller D3 schools do not have the time, money, or resources to abuse this privilege, which will often be true.

Football Specific (Junior Year): In Division I & IAA, one call from April 15 to May 31 of your junior year. Additional calls cannot be made before September 1st of your senior year

Men’s Basketball Specific: In the summer of 2012 The NCAA adopted new contact rules for men’s D1 basketball. Coaches will be allowed unlimited phone calls starting June 15 after a recruit’s sophomore year. Private messages on social networks also will be deregulated. Women’s basketball calls can begin on September 1st of your junior year. Once that begins, the calls from coaches are unlimited.

Women’s Ice Hockey – A college coach may call International college-bound student-athletes once on or after July 7th after sophomore year. One call per week beginning July 7th after junior year.

Men’s Ice Hockey – College coaches may begin calling on January 1st of your sophomore year.

Other Sports: Swimming & diving, cross country, track and field may not be made before July 1st following junior year.

Text Messaging
Text messaging is something we all love (well maybe not everyone) and was being used very prevalently by college coaches a few years ago. But like all good things, there were problems. Text messaging got out of control and recruits began to receive hundreds of text messages a week from college coaches, along with a huge phone bill if they didn’t have an unlimited text messaging plan. It was only a matter of time before the NCAA stepped in. In 2007 the NCAA banned text messaging from college coaches to recruits. Many coaches said they hated text messaging but had to do it because every other coach was doing it. But technology always wins out and texting and instant messaging is now allowed again under the following parameters.


Men’s basketball: Electronic correspondence can begin June 15th after sophomore year.

Women’s basketball: Electronic correspondence can begin September 1st of junior year.

Football: Email and fax permissible September 1st of your junior year. All other forms of electronic correspondence is impermissible. You can only communicate with a coach electronically after you have provided the school a written commitment.

All Other sports: Electronic correspondence can begin September 1st of junior year.

Swimminng & Diving, Cross Country, Track & Field: Only email and faxes allowed until you provide a written commitment to the NCAA school


Texting is also allowed at the D2 level on/after June 15th of a prospects sophomore year.

The NCAA D3 council voted in January of 2012 on text messaging and it is now allowed at the D3 level for every sport.

Mail Call
The NCAA once again has a wide array of rules for mailings at the D1 level for different sports. For a complete list, please see the NCAA guide for the College Bound Student-Athlete. At the D2 level, a coach can send you brochures for camps or questionnaires any time. They can begin to send you printed recruiting material June 15th before your junior year of high school. There are no restrictions at the D3 level as you can receive mail any time.