The USA TODAY High School Sports Recruiting Tips are provided by our recruiting partner, Playced.com.
The thrill of going on a visit to your potential college is exhilarating, but you need to understand whether the visit is official or unofficial. At the Division I and II levels you are limited to a total of five official visits and one official visit per school. There is not a limit on official visits to NAIA and Division III schools. NCAA and NAIA rules are very specific with respect to recruiting visits and if something is not handled correctly, the college and you could suffer the consequences. For that reason, you need to know the difference between an official and an unofficial visit.
An official visit is any visit to a college that is paid for by the university. You and your parents will have your transportation to and from the college paid for. Also paid for by the college will be your hotel, meals and entertainment expenses. Generally, you will receive three free tickets to that college’s home game the weekend you are in town. Each official visit can last up to 48 hours.
If a coach asks you to come for an official visit, then you are most likely a top prospect for that school. You can start your official visits on the opening day of classes of your senior year.
An unofficial visit is anytime you or your parents visit a college and your parents foot the bill. You can take as many unofficial visits as you like. Unofficial visits to colleges in which you have interest are a great idea and should start as early as the end of your sophomore year. You might even be able to alert the college coach that you will be on campus and if the weekend is not during a dead period then perhaps a short meeting might be possible.