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3 Guidelines to Early Recruiting – No More Grey Area (Camps, Visits, and Communication)

There is a lot of confusion among coaches and a lot of grey area. The new NCAA legislation has been challenging and after attending the AVCA Convention and speaking with multiple NCAA Compliance representatives, I needed time to digest it all. As a college coach, we have a lot of tools to help us navigate the new rules and I’ve come to realize that club directors, club coaches, recruiting coordinators, and high school directors don’t have resources like college compliance officers to provide guidance. In many ways, it is up to the college coaches to educate

The most recognizable grey areas includes camps and clinics, campus visits, and communication to freshman and sophomores.

  1. CAMPS – NO 1-day specialized “camps and clinics” for individual recruiting purposes. Any age student-athletes can come to a general camp.
  2. VISITS – Freshman and sophomore cannot take an Unofficial Visit. They make take a general campus visit on their own and cannot meet with any coach.
  3. COMMUNICATION – NO asking, directing, requesting, etc. coaches, club directors, and recruiting coordinators to forward along information (emails, letters, etc.) to freshman and sophomore prospective student-athletes.

More detailed information on the rules are as follows:

Camps and Clinics
Camps and Clinics are acceptable for any age prospective student-athlete as long as they truly are camps and clinics and not used strictly for recruiting purposes, such as 1 or 2 prospective student-athlete only camp. These camps MUST have a physical element to them (a true skill/drill instruction session), NO recruiting conversations can ever happen at any camps (until after September 1 of their junior year), and no specialized or individual attention can be given to one or a select few campers.

Campus Visits
Freshman and Sophomore Prospective Student-Athletes are NOT allowed to take Unofficial or Official Campus Visits. They ARE allowed to visit any university on their own, as if they were a ‘regular’ student visiting the university. They CANNOT have any specialized attention on this visit by anyone within the university such as an individual campus tour(unless they are routinely done by the institution). They are NOT allowed to visit with anyone from the athletic department, including any coach or athletic department staff. They are NOT allowed to have any coach or athletic department staff arrange a meeting with professors, staff, president while on campus.

Emails, Letters, and Phone Conversations from college coaches can never request a high school coach, club coach, and/or club director to forward along emails to freshman and sophomore prospective student-athletes. The only communication that can be delivered to freshman and sophomore prospective student-athletes is general camp flyers and general volleyball questionnaires (not specific flyers or questionnaires directed to a particular group or skill level athlete). These camp flyers and volleyball questionnaires may be delivered directly to any age prospective student-athlete and/or delivered by a high school coach, club coach, and/or club director (at their own free will and not via the direction of a college coach).

It is permissible at any time for any age prospective student-athlete to call and speak with a college coach (again, a call cannot be directed by a college coach asking a high school coach, club coach, and/or club director to have them call). Also, a college coach can never return the call or text of any freshman or sophomore prospective student-athlete nor ask a high school coach, club coach, and/or club director “I missed “PSA’s” call, can you have them call me back?”.

The ultimate goal is to have a healthy recruiting process for the young student-athletes and curtail the overload of transfers in college. At Winthrop, we may lose a few kids along the way, but know we doing things the right way.


  1. 1 and 2 are accurate.

    3 is not.

    The NCAA compliance people at the convention were trying to leave the impression that college coaches are restricted from contact with club and HS coaching prior to September 1 of Junior year, but there is nothing in the current regulations that makes it illegal.

  2. I never said they couldn’t contact the club or high schools prior to September 1 of Junior Year, College Coaches cannot ask, suggest, direct or request club directors, coaches, recruiting coordinators, etc from passing along information to freshman or sophomores.

  3. I wasn’t precise enough in my choice of words…

    There is nothing in the manual prohibiting relaying of messages to PSAs through third parties (eg club coaches).

    The only restriction in the legislation is that a coach cannot relay a message during a competition.

    Note: I’m not trying to debate the merits, just saying that the legislation doesn’t match what the compliance folks at the convention were saying. The new legislation change the rules for unofficial visits and the other calendar issues, but there was no new legislation re: third party contact.

    The NCAA compliance people at the convention are doing us a disservice by issuing opinions that aren’t backed up by the manual. If they want to make the change – no problem, but they have to go through the process, they can’t just insist it is so with no facts to back it up.

  4. Very interesting article. Do this apply to NAIA as well or are there different rules?

  5. OK, so my daughter is right in the middle of all the grey changes. She was able to make an unofficial hosted visit right before last year’s change. She was able to get verbal offers last summer/fall before the potential new changes. She will be a junior next school year. She’s not a Nebraska or Stanford recruit, but other Big 10s, Pac 12s and a few others MW, ACC, WCC. Any advice on how to handle would be awesome!

  6. Hi Ryan – Being that I’m a Division I Coach and your daughter is still a sophomore in high school, I cannot provide any advice on this situation. NCAA rules. Sorry. Chuck

  7. NAIA has its own set of rules, which are much more relaxed.

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