The NCAA announced last week the adoption of new rules legislation overseeing the athletic recruiting process for Division I sports that will have a major effect on the field hockey recruiting timeline. Read the NCAA’s full announcement: “Division I Council adopts recruiting legislation: New rules aim to make college athlete recruiting experience similar to student body’s.”
For field hockey, the immediate impact (effective Wednesday, April 25, 2018) is that athletic departments can no longer participate in a recruit’s unofficial visit until September 1 of the recruit’s junior year in high school. Additionally, recruiting conversations during a school’s camp or clinic can no longer happen before September 1 of a prospective’s junior year. Previously, there were no timeline restrictions on either of these things.
Starting later this Fall (effective August 1, 2018), official visits will be allowed to begin September 1 of a prospect’s junior year in high school, instead of the first day of classes of senior year, which was the previous rule.
These new rules apply to Division I field hockey programs.
The move comes as several sports, including field hockey, have been trending with earlier and earlier scholarship offers and verbal commitments. MAX Field Hockey’s College Commitment database currently includes 8 commitments for the Class of 2021 (freshmen class) and 57 commitments for the Class of 2020 (sophomore class).
These changes are considered the NCAA’s first step toward regulating the recruiting process. Communications (telephone, email, text), verbal and written offers, and off-campus contacts are on the agenda for the next phase of reforms.
Check out the NCAA Division I Student-Athlete Advisory Committee Early Recruiting Survey Preliminary Results for more background like the following chart showing that 70% of field hockey prospects were first contacted by college coaches in either 9th or 10th grade.