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NCAA Issues Recruiting and Baseball Clarification

On December 12, 2012, the NCAA released one interpretation and two Education Columns. The interpretation covered an aspect of official visits, and the Education Columns touched on baseball’s academic reform efforts and social media use in recruiting.

Interp: Coach Accompanying a Prospective Student-Athlete During Travel to and from an Official Visit

The academic and membership affairs staff confirmed that only those coaches who are counted by the institution within the numerical limitations on full-time coaches who may contact or evaluate prospective student-athletes off campus are permitted to accompany a prospective student-athlete [and his or her parents or legal guardian(s)] to and from his or her home to campus on an official visit, regardless of whether such a visit occurs during a permissible contact period; further, that it is permissible for such coaches to transport the prospective student-athlete in an institutional vehicle or the coach’s automobile.

What this means is that if an athlete is traveling for an official visit, and the school is picking the athlete up at his or her home, noncoaching staff members cannot pick the athlete up or drop them off. That means no directors of operations, video coordinators, recruiting coordinators, etc. This is different from picking athletes up at the airport, which any institutional staff member may do.

Education Column: Baseball Academic Enhancement FAQs

The NCAA also published an Educational Column regarding the baseball academic enhancement rules that have been around since 2008. Many of the rules are very technical and not likely to have a big impact on many teams, but one in particular stood out:

Question No. 5: May a 4–2–4 transfer student-athlete be eligible for the spring season if he was not meeting the applicable transfer requirements at the time of transfer?

Answer: Yes, if the one-year time-lapse requirement is the only requirement that the student-athlete was not meeting.

This creates a small loophole to one of the issues that the rules were designed to eliminate. Many of the transfer restrictions are designed to stop the practice of athletes bouncing from four-year schools to two-year schools and back again. Coaches were often offering scholarships to athletes, then cutting them midyear, resulting in many 4–2–4 transfers.

But if an athlete can stick it out at a school for a year, they can get around some of the transfer rules. For example:

  • Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013: Enrolled at four-year school.
  • Spring 2014: Enrolled at and graduates from two-year school.
  • Fall 2014: Starts at new four-year school.
  • Spring 2015: The student-athlete will be eligible to compete.

This will now work, despite the fact that it seems to circumvent both the general one-year waiting period for 4–2–4 transfers and some of the specific rules pointed at baseball. Baseball’s spring-only schedule continues to present opportunities for athletes looking for a way around transfer restrictions.

Social Media in Recruiting

Finally, the NCAA published a new version of one of the most important and useful interps, on the use of social media in recruiting. There is not much different from previous versions since some of the major proposals are still being debated until at least next month. The big change is that updates regarding the new men’s basketball recruiting model.

Are you ready for the NEXT STEP!