COVID-19 throws curveball at Division 1 recruiting

By Bob Behre | April 23, 2020

(Diamond Nation.com details in a series of articles how NCAA recruiting changes under COVID-19 will affect you as an athlete. We conclude this three-part series today with recruiting updates at the Division 1 level).

The NCAA has issued extensive direction to address developments under COVID-19, acting quickly to come to the aid of student-athletes. In mid-March, the NCAA granted an extra year of eligibility to all college student-athletes, in addition to allowing schools to, “assist students with travel, lodging and meals as a result of campus displacement.”

Please be aware the NCAA says updates will be made on a continuous basis. These are directions that affect both current college athletes and prospective college athletes. Here is what you need to know.

Telephone Calls

An institution’s coach is permitted to video call a prospective student-athlete to conduct a tour of the institution’s athletics and on-campus facilities? A video call (e.g., Zoom, Skype, Face Time) is considered a phone call.  However, telephone recruiting restrictions (e.g., first opportunity to contact) continue to apply to prospective student-athletes and coaching staff members.

An institution’s coach is NOT permitted to conduct a group video call with multiple uncommitted prospective student-athletes (Zoom, Skype or Face Time) as these interactions are not private between the sender and recipient. Additionally, only the head or assistant coaches who count toward the institution’s coaching limitations may conduct recruiting activities.

An institution’s coach is permitted to engage in a video call with multiple coaches of prospective student-athletes (e.g., high school coaches, club coaches) provided the institution does not incur any fee on behalf of any of the participants.

During the temporary COVID-19 recruiting dead period (through May 31) when campus visits are not permitted, an institutional staff member MAY NOT direct a student-athlete to make phone calls to an uncommitted prospective student-athlete for purposes of discussing the campus experience.

An institutional staff member MAY NOT direct a student-athlete to make phone calls to a committed prospective student (e.g., one who has signed a National Letter of Intent, received a written offer of admission or made a financial deposit).

Committed prospective student-athletes MAY NOT virtually participate in athletically related activities (e.g., team building, entertainment).

A committed or uncommitted prospective student-athlete MAY NOT use video call software to observe a team position meeting in any sport.

An institution’s coach MAY NOT engage in a virtual speaking engagement (e.g., banquet) that involves prospective student-athletes (e.g., Zoom meeting with a club team).

An institution’s coach creating and sending a prospective student-athlete a link for a video call (e.g., Zoom, GoToMeeting) constitute the institution initiating the video call.

A coach is permitted to conduct a group video call with multiple committed prospective student-athletes, including transfers (individuals who have signed a National Letter of Intent, received a written offer of admission or made a financial deposit).

An institution’s coach and student-athlete are permitted to engage in a video call (e.g., Zoom, Skype, FaceTime) with one or more committed prospective student-athletes. However, it is not permissible for the coach, student-athlete and committed prospective student-athlete(s) to engage in team related activities (e.g., film review, team building, team meetings, and entertainment).

Evaluations

During the temporary COVID-19 recruiting dead period an institution’s coach is permitted to have off-campus contact with a prospective student-athlete who has committed to the institution per Bylaw 13.02.5.5.2.

During the temporary COVID-19 recruiting dead period, an institution’s coach IS NOT permitted to have off-campus contact with a prospective student-athlete who has entered the transfer portal. However, it remains permissible to make phone calls and send electronic correspondence during a dead period.

Visits

It is NOT permissible for a prospective student-athlete to make a previously scheduled official or unofficial visit during the temporary COVID-19 recruiting dead period (through May 31).

An institution may reimburse a prospective student-athlete for official visit expenses incurred if the official visit was canceled due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Please note: Providing reimbursement does not count as the prospective student-athlete’s official visit to the institution.

During the temporary COVID-19 dead period, an institution’s coach MAY NOT assist the admissions office with campus tours for all prospective students?

At the conclusion of the temporary COVID-19 recruiting dead period, an institution MAY conduct an official visit without obtaining a transcript due to the prospective student-athlete’s educational institution closing for the remainder of the 2019-20 academic year? This flexibility is available from the date the prospective student-athlete’s educational institution cancels classes for the remainder of the 2019-20 academic year until the prospective student-athlete’s education institution reopens.

An institution MAY NOT roll over unused official visits from the 2019-20 academic year to the 2020-21 academic year as a result of the temporary COVID-19 recruiting dead period.

At the conclusion of the temporary COVID-19 recruiting dead period, recruiting calendars WILL remain the same.

Clinics

It IS NOT permissible for an institution to conduct an institutional camp or clinic during the temporary COVID-19 recruiting dead period.

An institution’s coach MAY NOT work an online/virtual camp and clinic during the temporary COVID-19 recruiting dead period?

Miscellaneous

An institution’s coach IS PERMITTED be involved with a local sports club during the temporary COVID-19 recruiting dead period.

An institution MAY host a virtual coach’s clinic with high school coaches, provided the high school coaches pay any associated fees related to the clinic (e.g., use of the virtual conferencing system).

An institution’s coach MAY post general information (e.g., contact information, NCAA rules) to social media requesting prospective student-athletes to call them during the COVID-19 recruiting dead period.

An institution’s strength and conditioning coach MAY post examples of workouts to social media and allow prospective student-athletes to view the example workouts.

For a comprehensive review of the Division 1 recruiting updates go to the NCAA’s website at: http://www.ncaa.org/sport-science-institute/coronavirus-covid-19

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