NCAA CONTACT RULES
The NCAA has a dizzying array of contact rules for different sports and different divisions...
We have covered some basic contact rules below and have provided a link for the free download of the 2014-2015 Guide For The College Bound Student-Athlete..that will discuss contact rules in more detail. We have also provided some basic contact rules for the NAIA as well as Junior College
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…
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
Basketball Specific: In the summer of 2012 The NCAA will adopt new contact rules for men’s D1 basketball. Coaches will be allowed unlimited phone calls and text messages to men’s basketball recruits. This extends to social media, 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.
Other Sports: Swimming & diving, cross country, track and field may not be made before July 1st following junior year. Women’s ice hockey is one call per week beginning July 7th after junior year.
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. It is still possible for a player to text a coach, the coach just cannot respond via text back to the player. As you read above, texting will be allowed for men’s D1 basketball coaches in 2012 even though it was D1 basketball coaches who were largely responsible for the ban in 2007! Texting is also allowed at the D2 level after a prospect has signed a National Letter of Intent. By the time you read this, it’s quite possible that texting at all levels of college will be brought back because it is such an important form of communication in this day and age! The NCAA D3 council voted in January of 2012 on text messaging and it is now allowed at the D3 level for every sport. The NCAA kept it's ban on the use of social media at the D3 level!
In sports other than football (NCAA), a college coach or faculty member is limited to one telephone call per week to you (or your parents or legal guardians), except that unlimited calls to you (or your parents or legal guardians) may be made under the following circumstances (excluding D3):
- During the five days before your official visit by the college you will be visiting.
- On the day of a coach's off-campus contact with you by that coach; and
- On the initial date for signing the National Letter of Intent in your sport through two days after the initial signing date.
At the national level, the NJCAA sets the basic outline of what is allowed and not allowed, but those rules are the lowest common denominator for any Junior College. All 500 + JC's are subdivided by 24 regions around the country. For example, Region One is made up of all schools from the Arizona Community College Athletic Association and Region Three is a group of schools in Upstate NY.
Each region is free to make up its own set of rules, never lower in criteria to the NCJAA of course. The basic NJCAC rules are summaries and avoid the minute detail found in the NCAA rulebook, most likely leading the strict interpretation to each region. The best bet is to call the school of interest and ask the coach you are speaking with.
As we talked about in Chapter 4, NAIA schools have less stringent recruiting and contact rules and can contact a HS athlete of any age at any time. There are no quiet periods or dead periods to adhere to. Pretty basic!
In any sport
In any grade, coaches may receive calls from students who are initiating the call. However, if a message is left, the coach cannot return the call until the proper time but you can keep calling all you want. In basketball, a player cannot call until after their sophomore year.
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 begin to send you printed material after September 1 of your junior year of high school. There are no restrictions at the D3 level.