Two NCAA Sport Associations have taken measures to do just that. In the spring, the NCAA passed a proposal drafted by both the IMLCA (Men’s Lacrosse) and IWLCA (Women’s Lacrosse) to limit early recruiting of DI prospective student-athletes. The new rule prohibits college coaches to have any recruiting contact with a prospective student-athlete prior to September 1 of junior year. This new rule also eliminates prospects calling coaches and visiting campuses prior to junior year.
This decision was monumental for lacrosse, now it is time for other sports to follow the path lacrosse has established. It’s time to stop the recruiting madness!
How ridiculous is early recruiting?
Florida’s softball program added a new commit to a future class – just one day short of her 12th birthday. Alexia Carrasquillo committed to the Gators’ championship-contender softball team on Thursday, as reported by Chez Sievers of FloSoftball.com
What were you doing when you were in 8th and 9th grade? Probably not making a decision that will affect the rest of your life. And that is what we are asking these kids to do. Many of them don’t have the mental fortitude or the experience to make such a major life decision. The college search process and the college decision is one of the first steps to becoming a young adult, and pressuring these kids to make this decision, we are making them skip their adolescents and go straight to adulthood. Remember that the decision is only a verbal commitment so it was non-binding, so either party coach or prospect could pull out at any time. This decision should be made when they have a bit more experience under their belt and when they have a little bit of freedom as a teenager. They shouldn’t be making this decision when they can’t even drive a car or have a job, it’s madness.
It’s time for the NCAA to stop the madness and put an end to this. This should be an easy decision for the NCAA, and all its sports associations. The NCAA advertisements talk about doing what is in the best interest of the student-athlete. Well, here’s their opportunity to live up to that. There is so much more this decision will impact than just to end early recruiting. Kids can get back to the fun of playing sports. There doesn’t have to be so much pressure on a 14 or 15-year-old about recruiting or where they are going to school. Youth sports participation has begun to decline especially around the age of 13 where it just becomes too serious for some kids so they quit. According to a poll conducted by the National Alliance for Youth Sports, 70 percent of youth athletes quit organized sports by age 13.
In addition to the decline of youth sports participation, we have also seen the steady decline in multi-sport athletes. And if you have seen any of the studies, multi-sport athletes are less likely to get injured than the one sport athletes, and playing multiple sports is better for overall development as an athlete.
Lastly, this could take some financial pressure off the parents to continue to pay for year-round competition and college exposure events. It only makes sense to align all recruiting activities (email, phone calls, and unofficial visits) to one date. It could bring back the enjoyment of youth sports and deliver a better overall athletic experience for all involved.
What this rule will not change is when a college coach can begin identifying and evaluating prospective student-athletes. College coaches will still be able to line up along a 2020 or 2021 game but maybe won’t feel so inclined to do so now that they cannot have any contact with a prospect until Junior Year. It is more likely, the start of sophomore year is when you will see coaches begin to evaluate talent. So, when junior year rolls around they have their top recruits to target.
What does this mean for the student? This does not mean your recruiting process begins junior year. As a prospect, you need to start learning about the process, building a list of schools, and initiating contact with college coaches in your sophomore year.
The ball is still in your court NCAA! Do the right thing!
* Originally published on February 26, 2018, by Guiding Future Stars