USA TODAY High School Sports has a weekly column on the college recruiting process. Here, you’ll find practical tips and real-world advice on becoming a better recruit to maximize your opportunities to play at the college level. Joe Leccesi is a former college-athlete and coach at the NAIA level, where he earned an NAIA National Championship. Joe is just one of many former college and professional players, college coaches, and parents who are part of the Next College Student Athlete team. Their knowledge, experience, and dedication along with NCSA’s history of digital innovation, and long-standing relationship with the college coaching community have made NCSA the largest and most successful athletic recruiting network in the country.
The NCAA Recruiting Calendars outline the rules set by the NCAA on when and how college coaches can proactively recruit athletes. Each calendar is broken into different periods, the evaluation period, dead period, quiet period and contact period. The contact period is when you will see the most recruiting activity, with college coaches free to visit and meet with recruits anywhere.
What is the NCAA Contact Period?
Contact periods are specific times outlined by the NCAA where NCAA DI and DII coaches can make in-home visits and meet with recruits on their high school campus. In addition to visiting recruits, coaches can call, email and text recruits. This is one of the most active recruiting periods, with college programs spreading out across the country to get time with their most valuable recruits.
INSIDER TIP: College coaches aren’t allowed to visit or meet with recruits off of their college campus until after September 1 of their Junior year of high school. That said, if you are the one calling or emailing coaches, you can open lines of communication before your junior year.
Prepare for visits from college coaches
When the contact period starts, don’t expect college coaches to just knock at your door unannounced. Visiting athletes at their home/high school is expensive, and coaches reserve this kind of recruiting activity only for their most valuable recruits. Having coaches visit you during the contact period is a great sign you are a high-value recruit. Here is how to put yourself in position to get coach visits:
- Establish contact well before the recruiting calendar rules start – with online recruiting and the growth of travel teams, the recruiting process has sped up. If you are waiting until coaches can contact you, you are going to be falling behind. Enlist the help of your high school and/or club coaches and establish contact with colleges you are interested in before your junior year of high school.
- Give coaches the chance to evaluate you before they have to watch you in person – most college programs are trying to get their recruiting done on a tight budget. This means they expect to be able to make initial evaluations of recruits through online video. Make sure you have highlight or skills tape online where coaches can get a good sense of your skills.
- Coordinate your efforts with your current coaches – college coaches are restricted in when and how often they can communicate with a recruit, but there are no rules about their communications with a recruit’s high school or club coaches. Make sure your coaches are aware of your desire to get recruited and that you are proactively reaching out to college coaches.
- Keep college coaches informed – once you’ve gone through the trouble of getting a college program interested in you, make sure you are keeping them informed on your recruiting activities. Coaches aren’t going to be able to communicate with you as much as they would like, so getting updates on where you are competing, how your grades are doing, etc. is really helpful for college coaches.
When is the NCAA Contact Period for my sport?
- DI FBS Football – Nov 26, 2017-Feb 3, 2018
- DI FCS Football – Nov 26, 2017-Feb 3, 2018
- DI Baseball – Sep 15, 2017-Nov 5, 2017; Mar 1, 2018-Jul 31, 2018
- DI Men’s Basketball – none
- DI Women’s Basketball – Sep 9, 2017-Sep 29, 2017; Mar 1, 2018-Mar 29, 2018
- DI Track and XC – Aug 13, 2017-Dec 10, 2017; Jan 3, 2018-Jul 31, 2018
- DI Men’s Lacrosse – Sep 1, 2017-Oct 31, 2017; Nov 1, 2017-Nov 19, 2017; Jan 8, 2018-Jan 15, 2018; Mar 1, 2018-May 24, 2018; May 29, 2018-Jul 31, 2018
- DI Women’s Lacrosse – Sep 1, 2017-Nov 30, 2017; Dec 1, 2017-Dec 30, 2017; Jan 3, 2018-May 24, 2018; May 28, 2018-Jun7, 2018
- DI Women’s Volleyball – Aug 1, 2017-Dec 3, 2017; Jan 1, 2018-Jul 31, 2018
- DI Women’s Beach Volleyball – Aug 1, 2017-Dec 3, 2017; Jan 1, 2018-Jul 31, 2018
- DI Softball – Aug 1, 2017-Aug 31, 2017; Jun 7, 2018-Jul 31, 2018
- All Other DI Sports – anytime is a potential contact period unless otherwise identified as a dead, evaluation or quiet period.
- DII Football – Nov 27, 2017-Mar 12, 2018
- DII Men’s Basketball – Sep 7, 2017-Oct 14, 2017; Mar 1, 2018-May 14, 2018
- DII Women’s Basketball – Sep 7, 2017-Oct 14, 2017; Mar 1, 2018-May24, 2018
- All Other DII Sports – anytime is a potential contact period unless otherwise identified as a dead, evaluation or quiet period.