Division 1 and 2: Contacts and Evaluations
I started writing this post and it went a lot deeper than I initially intended. Part 1 here focuses on Division 1 and 2 recruiting; diving in to the specifics of Coach-Recruit Communication (Contact) and Coach's ability to observe PSAs compete (Evaluations) as governed/restricted by the NCAA recruiting calendar, and how this impacts athletes (and their parents) in pursuit of earning a basketball scholarship. Part 2 will post later this week focusing on campus visits, and some Division-3 specifics that significantly differentiate the D3 recruiting process from Divisions 1 and 2.
The NCAA Recruiting Calendar shapes the recruiting process. There are a few key pieces to understand as a parent, athlete or High School/AAU coach guiding young athletes through the process. The men’s basketball calendar and rules have gone through some major changes over the last few years, so this article is really more focused on the women’s basketball calendar. Here is a link to an article about the men’s calendar: http://www.clearinghousecalculator.org/calendars/DI_MBasketball.pdf - just know most of these changes were to counter AAU and shoe company influence in grassroots basketball in the wake of an FBI corruption investigation that left multiple high major coaches facing 80 year jail sentences. Anyway, getting back on track - let's dive in to contacts and evals:
Communication is the main element of the recruiting process; if you're being actively recruited by a D1 or D2 program, you will hear from them consistently. The recruiting calendar sets specific dates communication can begin, although coaches will frequently communicate through High School and AAU coaches to express interest in PSAs before the calendar allows direct communication, and college coaches are always allowed to RECEIVE communication, so if you call before the calendar allows, they can still answer and speak with you. But, it is important to know that if they miss your call, they can't call or text you back - so don't take that as a sign that they're not interested, it's just a real challenge to connect back with a younger PSA when that initial call is missed. The restrictions cover phone calls, text messages, emails and direct messages on social media. Coaches can, however, like/favorite/love social media posts of younger PSAs provided no specific text is sent.
Regarding the calendar dates specifically, D1 Coaches can’t make direct contact with PSAs (or their parents) until September 1st of their Junior year in high school. D2 coaches have similar restrictions, they can’t reach out directly until June 15th of a PSA’s sophomore year.
What’s important to know here: if you think you’re being recruited by a D1 or D2 school and they don’t call you on the first date they’re able to – YOU’RE NOT THEIR TOP RECRUIT. That doesn’t mean they’re not interested, but it definitely lets you know where you stand. On the flip side, if you or your child is at an age where direct communication is restricted, that could be the reason you're not hearing much. Don't be afraid to reach out or have your HS or AAU coach reach out for you - that's the best way to gauge where you stand with a program you're interested in.
College coaches are allowed to come watch your high school games, but it’s challenging because they have their own season going on at the same time. Most of the recruiting happens at AAU and showcase events in the spring/summer and to a lesser degree, the fall. D1 coaches are heavily restricted – they get 2 weekends in the spring and 12 days in July to attend AAU events. D2 coaches get pretty much the whole summer to attend events.
What’s important to know here: If you’re playing on a team with the expectation of getting evaluated by D1 and D2 coaches, know when and where they’re recruiting. The dates are outlined in the calendar, and because of the limited dates for D1 coaches, most of the evaluation gets consolidated to mega tournaments. In July, Indianapolis, Louisville, Chicago and Atlanta end up being host sites for the biggest tournaments. If this level of recruitment is your goal, make sure you’re playing for a program and coach who understand where you need to be to get seen.
Also, this is a personal pet peeve, from an administrative standpoint – these big events all have books with rosters and contact information that college coaches pay big bucks for. I’ve spent up to $800 for a tournament admission/info book combo at an event. Make sure the program you play takes the time to get accurate jersey number, player info (grade, height, etc) and contact info listed in the book. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been interested in recruiting a player whose jersey number was listed incorrectly (I didn’t have specific info to continue recruiting), had no contact information listed (I couldn’t follow up with after the event to start the recruiting process) or who had wrong contact information listed. All of these items are barriers to starting the process, and when coaches have a list of 50-100 players they have to follow up on, those little administrative oversights can derail your recruiting process before it starts.
It's important to understand the recruiting calendar so you have an accurate understanding of how the process works from the NCAA side. Hopefully this info helped you out - if you have any specific questions please shoot me an email at email@example.com. Check back later this week for Part 2 - Campus Visits and D3 recruiting process specifics.