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Division I to return to recruiting activities June 1

DI Council also approves pathway to Division I from Division III

All Division I sports will return to their regular recruiting calendars beginning June 1. The Division I Council approved the return to recruiting activities during its videoconference this week.

Council members also acknowledged that schools in different areas of the country could be limited based on campus, local and state requirements.

“We are delighted to announce that as of June 1, all sports will return to their normal recruiting calendars,” said Council chair M. Grace Calhoun, athletics director at Pennsylvania. “We want to thank all prospective student-athletes, their families, coaches and current student-athletes for their patience as we determined the best way to move forward safely with recruiting in Division I.”

Football recruiting will look a little different in the next year, as the Council approved several adjustments aimed at providing recruiting opportunities for prospective student-athletes whose recruitment was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Council issued a waiver to permit on-campus evaluations during unofficial visits during the days football camps and clinics are allowed in June and July 2021 only, with some restrictions. The number of evaluation days in the sport will increase from 42 to 56 during the fall 2021 evaluation period only.

The Council also approved a waiver of the telephone call legislation for football for the 2021-22 academic year only. The waiver allows telephone calls during a prospective student-athlete’s junior year on the following schedule in 2022:

  • In January, beginning the Sunday after the American Football Coaches Association Convention, one call per week.
  • No calls in February.
  • One call per week in March.
  • Calls at the school’s discretion in April and May.
  • One call per week in June and July.
  • Aug. 1 through the Saturday after the AFCA Convention:
    • Additional calls to prospective student-athletes or their family are not permitted before Sept. 1 of the beginning of their senior year in high school.
    • After Sept. 1, calls are limited to once per week outside a contact period and may be made at the school’s discretion during a contact period.

The waiver is effective Aug. 1, 2021.

Council members also granted a waiver to allow school staff to participate in a call with any number of uncommitted prospective student-athletes in any sport and to allow student-athletes to participate in phone calls with a coach and prospective student-athletes or at the direction of a coach. Additionally, student-athletes cannot be directed to make calls on a day off.

The Council also approved a blanket waiver allowing full-time institutional staff members, current students and all coaches, including volunteer coaches, to initiate recruiting calls (for example, telephone calls, video calls) involving prospective student-athletes whom an institution is permitted to call. The waiver is in effect from June 1 through Dec. 31, 2021, and requires staff who are not making or receiving calls to prospects under an existing legislated exception (for example, academic advisors and compliance administrators) to pass the recruiting exam before making or receiving calls.

Division I has been in a recruiting dead period since March 13, 2020, when the Council decided the dead period was the best way to protect the health and safety of coaches and current and future student-athletes. The dead period has been extended multiple times, until discussions began about lifting the ban on in-person recruiting earlier this year.

Legislative action

The Council also adopted a process that allows Division III members to reclassify to Division I. Before this change, new Division I members were required to spend a period in Division II before becoming Division I members.

The new process requires Division III schools to spend a year in the pre-application process, with the ability to move into the reclassification process after meeting specific criteria, including a feasibility study, a formal invitation from a Division I conference and a strategic plan. This proposal is effective June 1.

The Council also introduced legislation that would eliminate the option for student-athletes to sign a written release or waiver declining a sickle cell solubility test. That proposal will be considered through the 2021-22 legislative cycle.

COVID-19 action

At the recommendation of the Legislative Committee, the Council advised the student-athlete reinstatement staff to provide additional flexibility for potential season-of-competition waivers for spring sport student-athletes. Staff will be flexible when considering when competition took place, how many dates of competition a student participated in and the overall circumstances of waiver requests.

Additionally, the Council granted a blanket waiver to allow schools to provide men’s and women’s basketball and football student-athletes with funds equal to the amount they would have received through summer athletics aid if they were enrolled in summer classes, minus tuition and fees. The funding would cover meals, lodging and expenses. Earlier this year, the Council granted an expanded waiver allowing all students in those sports to participate in practice over the summer, no matter if they were enrolled in summer school.