This past April, the NCAA council board met to revise the recruiting rules to the Division 1 football landscape. In particular, the Board passed a new rule effectively, allowing high school juniors to take their official visits from April 1st until the Wednesday before the last Sunday in June. Previously, prospective student-athletes were not allowed to take an official visit until September 1st of their senior year.
The new ruling brings equality to the recruiting circuit as pressures rise from college coaches to get student-athletes to make a verbal commitment to a school even before they have an opportunity to take an official visit. As a result, many student-athletes are limited to visiting schools within close proximity to their homes. It is often too expensive to travel long distances on an unofficial visit. By allowing for earlier official visits, students and their parents are not restricted to specific schools based on where they live.
Not only does this change the recruiting landscape for coaches throughout the country, but also for the prospective student-athletes. By allowing for earlier official visits, students and their families have more flexibility in when they can visit and will be able to find a time that works best for themselves. The earlier timetable allows for prospective student-athletes to visit a university when they are not currently in season. However, this may not seem like a huge deal to visit a school while in season. It is incredibly beneficial to have the opportunity for recruits to experience a classroom environment at a particular college to evaluate their academic performance.
While the new rule change has received mixed reviews from college coaches, it aims to provide student-athletes with more access in a timely manner to decide on the college that best suits them. Overall, the ruling will provide greater access to schools before pressures mount and options narrow during the recruitment process. The ruling is a step in the right direction to give student-athletes the resources and power to navigate the crazy world of college recruiting.
* Originally published on December 22, 2017, by Colby Hall