National Signing Day is three weeks away, but a lot can happen in three weeks.
The monthlong “dead period” for prospective Football Subdivision Recruits ends Wednesday and the contact period that began Nov. 30 resumes until Feb. 1. From Nov. 30 through Feb. 1 — other than during the quiet period — schools are allowed to make six in-person off-campus contacts per recruit, with only one permitted each week.
It also means that recruits are able to travel to campuses and many uncommitted recruits have their calendars loaded with visits in the next three weeks. A dead period is back in place Feb. 2 to Feb. 5 so players can make their final decisions before signing the National Letter of Intent.
USA TODAY High School Sports talked to NCAA spokesman Chris Radford about the rules during these periods, why they exist and who is impacted.
Q: Can you explain what is allowed and not allowed during the dead period?
A: During a dead period, it is not permissible to make in-person recruiting contacts or evaluations on or off the school’s campus. In addition, a prospect may not make an official or unofficial visit to an institution. However, it is permissible to write or call a recruit. .
Q: Can you explain what is allowed and not allowed during the quiet period?
A: During a quiet period, it is not permissible to make in-person, off-campus recruiting contacts or evaluations; however, it is permissible to make in-person contacts only on the school’s campus.
Q: What is the intent behind these periods and their impact?
A: There are different reasons for the quiet and dead periods depending on when they occur within a specific sport’s recruiting calendar. For example, dead periods surrounding National Letter of Intent signing periods exist to limit the amount of influence that coaches have while prospects are deciding what institution to attend. Dead periods surrounding NCAA championships exist to permit coaches that are participating in these events to maintain their focus on their student-athlete’s postseason experience. Other reasons for dead and quiet periods include shielding prospects from undue pressures that may interfere with their scholastic or athletics interests, and enhanced work/life balance for coaches and encouraging coaches to attend coaches association conventions.
Q. Do these periods refer only to seniors heading into signing day or do the same rules apply for underclassmen?
A: Generally, and unless otherwise specified in the sport’s recruiting calendar, quiet and dead periods apply to any prospective student-athlete, regardless of year in school .
Q: Students can decommit because verbal commitments are non-binding. If there were to be a coaching change or some other reason, are scholarship offers also non-binding on the school’s part? Can a school rescind a scholarship offer before the letter of intent is signed regardless of the student’s verbal?
A: The NCAA does not recognize nor enforce verbal commitments. Verbal commitments, whether they are made by an institution in regard to an offer or aid or by a prospective student-athlete in regard to an acceptance of aid are non-binding to either the institution or the prospect. An institution may rescind a verbal scholarship offer, even if the prospective student-athlete has verbally committed as neither party is bound by a verbal commitment. A National Letter of Intent is binding on both parties unless the prospective student-athlete is granted a release by the institution. A signed financial aid offer is binding to the school but not the athlete. A coaching change does not automatically release either party of its NLI obligation.