NCSA: What happened at the 2019 NCAA Convention?

NCSA: What happened at the 2019 NCAA Convention?

High School Sports

NCSA: What happened at the 2019 NCAA Convention?


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 and play at the college level. Jaimie Duffek was one of the top 50 high school softball players in Illinois and went on to play outfield for Drake University. Jaimie is just one of many former college athletes 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 is adopting new legislature to promote mental health and deregulate the recruiting process. In January, hundreds of representatives from Division I, Division II and Division III schools attended the annual NCAA Rules Convention in Orlando to vote on a wide range of proposals and pass new rules. Here are three key rule changes — one for each division level — and how they impact student-athletes and the recruiting process.

Division I: Mental health services prioritized by Power 5 conferences

Starting Aug. 1, student-athletes at Power 5 colleges will be guaranteed access to mental health services and resources. The ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC conferences passed legislation that requires member schools to make mental health services available and distribute educational materials. The committee demonstrated its full support of the proposal with a unanimous vote of 80-0.

What does this legislation mean?

While most colleges already offer services for mental health, this legislation was introduced to further destigmatize mental health concerns and encourage student-athletes to seek help if they need it. Incoming student-athletes will receive a guide to mental health services and resources available at the school and information on how to use them. This includes appointments with mental health professionals and materials on depression, anxiety and other mental illnesses through the athletic department or health and counseling services department.

As mental health becomes destigmatized, more and more college students are reporting a condition and seeking treatment. A 10-year study of over 155,000 students across 196 campuses showed significant increases in mental health diagnoses (22 to 36 percent) and treatment (19 to 34 percent). As the issue grows, we might see this legislation turn into a mental health policy for student-athletes that encompasses every NCAA division.

Division II: Football and basketball camps and clinics allowed year-round

In the past, football and basketball camps hosted by Division II schools could only take place over the summer vacation period. But thanks to new legislation, Division II colleges can conduct camps and clinics at any time of year. To expand on these loosened restrictions, Division II schools passed a rule to prevent student-athletes from helping out at camps and clinics during the NCAA’s legislated seven-day winter break.

What does this legislation mean?

Summer is still the best time for camps and clinics, but the loosened restrictions give Division II football and basketball coaches more flexibility to conduct events that fit their schedules. In addition, the new rule prohibiting student-athletes from working camps over winter break will ensure they get to spend time away from campus for the holidays. As you search for camps and clinics to attend, keep in mind that you may soon have more options throughout the year. Expect to see Division II colleges hosting winter basketball camps and spring football camps in the near future.

Read more: How to find the right football camps and combines

Division III: Social media deregulated for recruiting communication

At the Division III level, member schools passed a proposal to deregulate social media restrictions for coaches and athletic department staff levels. Adopted by a vote of 391-82, this new rule allows Division III coaches to publicly react to content posted by prospective student-athletes, including like, favorites, shares and retweets. Effective immediately, coaches are also allowed to friend and follow recruits. This change was made to align Division III recruiting rules with standards set in Division I and Division II.

What does this legislation mean?

Social media has become an increasingly popular way for coaches to connect with student-athletes and stay in touch during the recruiting process. According to college coaches surveyed by Cornerstone Reputation, 85 percent search athlete profiles on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other social media platforms. While most coaches at this level probably won’t be using social media to chase after the country’s top athletes, loosened restrictions should allow Division III programs to improve their communication with prospective recruits. Looking at a Division III school? The coach can now like and comment on your posts to indicate recruiting interest.

Read more: How to use social media for recruiting


More USA TODAY High School Sports