Unrecruited Athlete: What Is the NCAA Contact Period?

Contact Periods

Pursuing collegiate-level athletics is less of a process… and more like a journey.

It takes time, dedication, and a real investment into your recruitment strategy. Part of your strategy should be to move through every step of the journey with professionalism and diligence to protocol so that you can really stand out in the crowd.

And part of that starts with understanding the process –

What is the NCAA Recruitment Process?

The official NCAA Recruiting Calendar outlines clear periods of the year during which recruiting activities are regulated. For athletes, these occur throughout their junior and senior years.

  • Evaluation Period: Coaches can watch athletes compete in person but cannot have off-campus in-person contact. They can have communication with athletes via phone, email, or social media. There are typically 2x evaluation periods per year, once in the fall and once during the spring season.
  • Contact Period: Coaches can have off-campus, in-person contact with athletes. They can also communicate via phone, email, text, and social media. Often begins in April and continues into July for many sports.
  • Dead Period: This period is typically through the holidays from late December to early January, where in-person contact and campus visits are prohibited, but communication via phone, email, and social media is allowed.
  • Quiet Period: Coaches can have in-person contact with athletes, but it must be on campus. Off-campus visits are not allowed. Communication via phone, email, and social media is allowed.

What is a Contact Period?

A contact period is a designated time frame in which college coaches and recruiters are allowed to have direct and in-person communication with prospective student-athletes. It’s a crucial phase in the recruitment process that gives coaches and recruits the opportunity to establish a first-person connection and open the doorways to possible collegiate recruitment.

NCAA rules and regulations for this period ensure a fair and ethical recruitment process by implementing several rules and regulations:

  • Recruit Initiated: Athletes must be the ones to initiate contact with the coach for off-campus meetings. Coaches can’t randomly visit or contact recruits without interest expressed first by the athlete.
  • In-Person Contact: Coaches are allowed to visit the athlete’s school, home, or other locations off-campus to meet with the recruit and their family. Visits can include conversations about the athlete’s interest in the program, the college’s academic offerings, and the athlete’s potential role on the team.
  • Communication: Coaches can engage in face-to-face conversations with the athlete, their parents, or legal guardians. They can also make phone calls and send text messages to the recruit.
  • Official Visits: Student-athletes hopefuls are allowed to take official visits to the college or university. These visits are typically paid for by the college and offer the athlete an opportunity to experience campus life: meet with coaches, current athletes, and academic advisors.
  • Off-Campus Visits: Coaches can visit the athlete’s high school or attend their athletic competitions. Off-campus visits allow coaches to assess the recruit’s skills and abilities in person and across a variety of atmospheres.
  • Frequency: While communication is allowed, there are limits on the frequency and duration of contact so that student-athletes have the space to stay focused on sports and academics without feeling pressured or overwhelmed.

How to Be Proactive During a Contact Period

To make the most of the contact period, athletes need to be strategic and proactive in their approach. Athletes should maintain open, professional communication and respond promptly to any outreach.

Keep your athlete profile and highlight reel up-to-date and accessible for coaches. Once you’ve made contact with programs and coaches you’re interested in, maintain communication and connections with coaches to keep your name top-of-mind.

NCAA Recruitment Periods

The NCAA recruiting rules can be complex and vary across sports and divisions. Recruiting periods in collegiate sports typically occur throughout the year and are divided into different segments, each with its own set of rules and restrictions. Refer to the official NCAA Recruiting Calendar for exact dates and times, but here is a rough guide:

  • Fall Recruiting Periods:

Quiet Period: Often begins in early September and can extend into December. During this period, coaches may have in-person contact with athletes on their own campus but cannot visit recruits off-campus.

Evaluation Period: Occurs primarily during the fall season. Coaches can watch recruits compete in person but cannot have off-campus, in-person contact.

  • Winter Recruiting Periods: 

Dead Period: Typically around the holidays, from late December to early January. Coaches cannot have in-person contact with recruits, and off-campus visits are off-limits.

Evaluation Period: Occurs again during the winter season, allowing coaches to attend events and evaluate athletes.

  • Spring Recruiting Periods: 

Contact Period: Often begins in April and continues through June. Coaches can have off-campus, in-person contact with recruits, including visits to the athlete’s school or home.

  • Summer Recruiting Periods:

Contact Period: Continues into July for many sports. Coaches can continue off-campus, in-person contact.

Quiet Period: Typically begins in early July and may extend into early August. Coaches can have in-person contact with athletes, but visits are limited to the coach’s campus.

The guidelines can be excessive and overwhelming for athletes who are still in high school, navigating work, sports, and academics.

This is exactly why you should call StellaPop Sports Management to help make it all a little easier. Get recruited, it’s a process. Let StellaPop SM handle all the details.

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