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Recruiting

The NCAA supports student-athlete well-being by promoting a fair recruiting environment that limits intrusions into the lives of student-athletes and their families.

Recruiting happens when a college employee or representative invites a high school student-athlete to play sports for their college. Recruiting can occur in many ways, such as face-to-face contact, phone calls or text messaging, through mailed or emailed material or through social media.

View the Division I recruiting guide

View the Division II recruiting guide

View a list of 2014-15 recruiting calendars for individual sports

View a list of 2015-16 recruiting calendars for individual sports

Recruiting terms

A contact happens any time a college coach says more than hello during a face-to-face meeting with a college-bound student-athlete or his or her parents off the college’s campus.

An evaluation happens when a college coach observes a student-athlete practicing or competing.

A verbal commitment happens when a college-bound student-athlete verbally agrees to play sports for a college before he or she signs or is eligible to sign a National Letter of Intent. The commitment is not binding on the student-athlete or the school and can be made at any time.

When a student-athlete officially commits to attend a Division I or II college, he or she signs a National Letter of Intent, agreeing to attend that school for one academic year.

Campus visits

Any visit to a college campus by a college-bound student-athlete or his or her parents paid for by the college is an official visit. Visits paid for by student-athletes or their parents are considered unofficial visits.

During an official visit the college can pay for transportation to and from the college for the student-athlete, lodging and three meals per day for the student-athlete and his or her parents or guardians, as well as reasonable entertainment expenses including three tickets to a home sports event.

The only expenses a college-bound student-athlete may receive from a college during an unofficial visit are three tickets to a home sports event.

National Letter of Intent

A National Letter of Intent is signed by a college-bound student-athlete agreeing to attend a Division I or II college for one academic year. Participating colleges agree to provide financial aid for one academic year to the student-athlete as long as the student-athlete is admitted to the school and is eligible for financial aid under NCAA rules. Other forms of financial aid do not guarantee the student-athlete financial aid.

The National Letter of Intent is voluntary and not required for a student-athlete to receive financial aid or participate in sports.

Signing a National Letter of Intent ends the recruiting process because participating schools are prohibited from recruiting student-athletes who have already signed letters with other participating schools.

A student-athlete who signs a National Letter of Intent but decides to attend another college may request a release from his or her contract with the school. If a student-athlete signs a National Letter of Intent with one school but attends a different school, he or she loses one full year of eligibility and must complete a full academic year at the new school before being eligible to compete.

Learn more about the National Letter of Intent

Recruiting calendars

NCAA member schools limit recruiting to certain periods during the year. Recruiting calendars promote the well-being of college-bound student-athletes and ensure fairness among schools by defining certain periods during the year in which recruiting may or may not occur in a particular sport.

During a contact period, a college coach may have face-to-face contact with college-bound student-athletes or their parents, watch student-athletes compete or visit their high schools and write or telephone student-athletes or their parents.

During an evaluation period, a college coach may watch college-bound student-athletes compete, visit their high schools and write or telephone student-athletes or their parents. However, a college coach may not have face-to-face contact with college-bound student-athletes or their parents off the college’s campus during an evaluation period.

During a quiet period, a college coach may not have face-to-face contact with college-bound student-athletes or their parents and may not watch student-athletes compete or visit their high schools. Coaches may write or telephone college-bound student-athletes or their parents during this time.

During a dead period, a college coach may not have face-to-face contact with college-bound student-athletes or their parents and may not watch student-athletes compete or visit their high schools. Coaches may write and telephone student-athletes or their parents during a dead period.

View a list of 2014-15 recruiting calendars for individual sports