The Recruiting Calendar
Recruiting calendars serve to create equal opportunities across all sports and protect the well-being of student-athletes and coaches. The calendars provide windows of contact, evaluation and quiet and dead periods that define when college coaches can and cannot take certain actions within the recruiting process.
Contact periods are when a college coach may contact a prospective student-athlete via unofficial visits, official visits, off-campus or home visits, letters, calls and electronic communication. There are minimal restrictions during this period. Contact occurs when a college coach engages in a face-to-face conversation that involves more than just a greeting with a prospective student-athlete or their family. This contact can be made on or off campus. Coaches may also watch prospective student-athletes compete and visit high schools during this time.
Evaluation periods are when a college coach may watch prospective student-athletes compete and evaluate their skills. While this period is similar to the contact period, the evaluation period does not permit coaches to have off-campus, face-to-face conversations with prospective student-athletes or their families. College coaches may still communicate via unofficial and official visits, letters, calls and electronic communication. Coaches may attend any of the student-athlete's games or practices but are unable to have in-person contact with the student-athlete or family at those events.
Quiet periods are when a college coach cannot watch prospective student-athletes compete at any location. These periods are more restrictive than contact and evaluation periods. College coaches may still communicate via unofficial and official visits, letters, calls and electronic communication. However, off-campus in-person contact is prohibited between college coaches and prospective student-athletes and their families. Quiet periods typically fall before the National Letter of Intent signing day. This prevents college coaches from having any off-campus contact with prospective student-athletes and their families.
Dead periods are when a college coach is prohibited from having face-to-face contact with prospective student-athletes and watching student-athletes compete. This is the most restrictive period in the recruiting calendar. College coaches may still communicate letters, calls and electronic communication. While student-athletes are permitted to visit colleges, they are not permitted to meet with coaches. Coaches may not have any in-person contact with student-athletes or their families.
National Letter of Intent
A National Letter of Intent is a document signed by a student-athlete when they commit to attend a NCAA Division I or II institution for one academic year. Student-athletes may sign a National Letter of Intent during their senior year of high school. By signing a National Letter of Intent, the student-athlete agrees to attend the designated institution and the institution agrees to provide financial aid to the student-athlete for one academic year.
The National Letter of Intent outlines the financial aid to be awarded by the college for one academic year to the student-athlete. The student-athlete must still apply to the school, gain admission and be eligible for the financial aid according to the rules. The National Letter of Intent is voluntary and not required for a student-athlete to be able to receive financial aid or participate in athletics.
Once a student-athlete signs a National Letter of Intent, the recruiting process comes to an end. Other institutions are restricted from recruiting student-athletes who have signed National Letters of Intent. After signing a National Letter of Intent, a student-athlete may request a release from their contract with the school. However, if a student-athlete signs a National Letter of Intent with one school, but decides to attend a different school, he or she will lose one full year of eligibility and will be required to complete a full year at the school they chose to attend before being able to compete again.
There are some advantages for both the student-athlete and the college once a National Letter of Intent is signed:
- Signed student-athletes can no longer receive recruiting contacts and calls.
- Signed student-athletes are guaranteed an athletic scholarship for a minimum of one academic year.
- The program can focus on a prospective student-athlete's educational goals by emphasizing the commitment to the institution and the team.
The National Letter of Intent is a binding agreement between a prospective student-athlete and the institution.