NCAA Terms to Know

The college recruiting process can be quite the roller coaster ride! The anticipation of awaiting an email from the coach at your dream school, receiving acceptance letters, the crushing news of a rejection – it’s all a part of the journey.

In 2007, when I began my search for “the perfect school”, I was green in the ways of the NCAA. Sure, schools devote an entire staff within their athletic department to ensure 100% compliance with NCAA rules and regulations, but if you think for even one second you can get away with “but I didn’t know!”, you are sorely mistaken. My advice: know your stuff! 99.9% of NCAA coaches play by the rules, but it doesn’t hurt to know your respective sport’s recruiting rules and timetables. Depending on the sport and division, timelines vary greatly.

Before you begin learning various rules, it is important to know the following basic terminology!

Prospective student-athlete any high school student-athlete considering participating in college athletics (PSA)

Student-athlete enrolled and eligible college athlete

Dead Period no contact may be made between coach and PSA, per NCAA bylaws

Quiet Period coach cannot recruit off-campus but they may communicate via written correspondence or phone call

Evaluation off campus activity designed to allow coach to evaluate PSA (no more than 7 are allowed)

Contact off campus face to face meeting between coach and PSA. An illegal contact occurs when the NCAA prohibits it. One example: recruiting conversation between coach and PSA during a dead or quiet period.

Official Visit PSA visit to any institution in which the school pays for all expenses (Limit of five per student, and no more than one per school, for Division I and II. Division III and NAIA schools do not limit the number of official visits, but you can only take one, per school).

Unofficial Visit  visit to any institution in which individual covers the cost (No limit).

Verbal Commitment is a non-binding agreement between PSA and particular institution.

National Letter of Intent a document used to indicate a student-athlete’s commitment to a particular college or university. Recruits who have signed a NLI must attend the school they have signed with, for one academic year – the idea is that this document is protective for both PSA and academic institution. Although, not all believe this to be the case.

Division III Celebratory Signing Form Division III institutions are not permitted to use NLI, so this is an option for D III student-athletes who want to partake in signing day.

These terms are the most commonly used in the world of recruiting. The next step would be to understand the specific timeline for your sport.

There you have it, folks…recruiting 101. More to come! Stay tuned.