The rules books for college sports are big, heavy books with hundreds of rules and thousands of interpretations. As a recruit or a parent, you are not responsible for knowing these rules. Most college coaches don’t even know the majority of the rules, their compliance staff is responsible for making sure each program is operating within the rules.
As a recruit or a parent, you should be most interested in the rules around how to contact college coaches and how they can contact you. Here are the most popular rules we are dealing with and my advice on working around them or making sure you follow them.
I heard a college coach can’t contact me until my Junior or Senior year?
This is true, but “contact you” means they can’t initiate contact by directly emailing, calling or sending you recruiting letters. As a recruit you can work around this rule in three ways.
- College coaches can talk with your high school or club team coach and schedule a time for you to call. If you call a coach and they pick up the phone, they can talk to you as much as they want. This happens all of the time and the number one way coaches and recruits are talking to one another before “the rules allow a coach to call.”
- You can always visit a coach on an unofficial visit. If you are a freshman or sophomore and you have emailed a coach and they have indicated they are interested through your coach, you can visit them on their campus.
- Attending the schools camps give a coach a chance to watch you next to the other recruits. Don’t go to a camp unless you are sure the school is interested in you. This means you should be using the two tips above to contact coaches and get a sense for who is interested.
I heard you can’t sign for a scholarship until your senior year, so why do I hear about recruits “getting scholarships” as sophomores or earlier?
What this means is a coach has made a verbal scholarship offer. These are unofficial, handshake deals between a coach and a recruit that when signing day comes their senior year the coach will be offering a scholarship. In an effort to get the best talent, coaches are offering their top prospects earlier in the process to lock them up. When you hear about someone with a scholarship as a sophomore or junior, remember it isn’t official. What this means for you, is you need to start contacting coaches now because chances are, that coaching staff is already evaluating recruits in your recruiting class.
At the end of the day, there are too many rules for any one person to remember (except the professionals). The most important thing you need to know as a parent or athlete is if you reach out to a coach and you are the right fit for their program, they are going to find a way to contact you. So it is your job to put together an online resume and begin contacting the coaches you are interested in and are the right fit for you.
Our free online profiles can certainly help with that, but you can also contact me directly with questions. You can find me on Google+ (my email is listed there) or create a recruiting profile so one of our scouts can contact you.