When it comes to recruiting for and participation in collegiate athletics, the rules and regulations are voluminous. If you are a parent of a potential recruit or are one yourself, there is no need for you to learn the ins and outs of every guideline, as it is usually the case that even university coaches are unaware of most of them. Rather, the compliance officials at each school are the ones who are charged with ensuring that the book is doing things at all times.
However, one area with which recruits and their parents ought to become familiar is related to permissible contacts between coaches and students. The following paragraphs provide some helpful advice on remaining in compliance with the relevant rules in this realm.
It is widely assumed that college coaches are forbidden from contacting high schoolers until they are in junior or senior years. “Contact” in this context refers to coach-initiated contacts such as telephone calls, emails, or written correspondence. There are, however, a few workarounds for this rule.
First, a college coach can speak to a club team or high school coach’s coach and suggest a time for a prospective recruit to call them. If a high schooler calls a coach and they answer, there is no rule against having a conversation at that point. This is actually quite a common practice, truth be told.
Second, unofficial visits between students and coaches are permissible, provided they occur properly. A first-year student or sophomore in high school can email a coach who has expressed interest through a high school or club coach and subsequently arrange an on-campus visit.
Lastly, a potential recruit who attends a university’s sports camp is another way to facilitate informal contact with a college coach. It is advisable to avoid attending camps unless there has already been an indication of interest on a coach’s part, which must make itself evident through one of the two methods described above.
Though there are often stories in the news about students being given athletic scholarships well before their senior years, the fact remains that formal acceptance of such an offer cannot occur until the final year in high school. The aforementioned news features refer simply to a coach who has made a verbal offer of a future scholarship, something which an unofficial representation designed to engender loyalty on the potential recruit’s part by showing faith in their talents early in the process.
The bottom line is that when it comes to college sports recruiting and compliance, the landscape is quite complicated, and a comprehensive grasp of the rules is not necessary for high school hopefuls or their parents. The key is to remember that if a student wishes to explore a particular program and makes an effort to make contact, an interested coach will find a permissible way to connect. By assembling an online portfolio of information and making contacts with coaches of interest, a high school athlete can take the initiative and pursue all available opportunities.