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D1 Recruiting Rule Changes to Take Effect

The NCAA Division I Council made some changes to the D1 Baseball recruiting rules on Wednesday in an attempt to curtail early recruiting, and some of those changes may have a significant impact on you as a recruit. The intent behind the new rules is to push the recruiting process back into a recruit’s junior and senior years of high school. Many wonder if the new rules will be effective in solving any of the problems associated with early recruiting in (mainly the upper levels of) DI college baseball, or simply create new ones. Only time will tell if these rule changes work as they are intended, but the impact on recruits will be felt immediately. Below we outline the changes and look at what they mean for recruits like you.

Official Visits

Old Rule:  Official visits are allowed only once a high school recruit has started classes during his senior year.

Rule Change: Official visits will now be allowed starting September 1st of a recruit’s junior year of high school.

Effective Date: August 1, 2018

What it means for you: This is good news for recruits who previously have been unable to make campus visits because of financial limitations. During official visits, college programs can cover transportation costs to and from the school, room and board during the trip for the recruit and his parent or guardian, and ‘reasonable entertainment expenses’ during the trip, including 3 complementary tickets to a home athletic event. Be aware that in order to take an official visit, a recruit needs to submit copies of SAT or ACT scores and transcripts to the host school. This will make planning your SAT/ACT test dates carefully. It’s also important to note that not all D1 programs have the budget to pay for official visits, so before you get too excited, make sure you know exactly what the program will be covering, if anything, for your visit.


Unofficial Visits

Old Rule: Unofficial visits (visits paid for at the expense of the recruit) were allowed to be set up with and involve the coaches of that program at any point in time.

Rule Change: Unofficial visits set up by or involving the college coaches are now allowed starting September 1st of a recruit’s junior year of high school, the same time period as official visits.

Effective Date: Next week after approval from NCAA Board of Directors.

What it means for you: If you like to plan ahead or wanted to commit before your upperclassmen years, this presents a problem. You will no longer be allowed to have on campus contact with college coaches or have them participate with your unofficial visit in any way prior to September 1st of your junior year. That means that you can no longer sit down and meet with any coaches or players while making an unofficial visit prior to the new date. This includes tours of the facilities, tickets to athletic events, or any sort of arranged meeting. What this means is that it will be incredibly difficult to make a fully informed decision on where you want to play in college prior to junior year of high school. Since verbal commitments guarantee little in the first place, this change isn’t necessarily a game-changer or bad thing for recruits, who are wise to wait for their upperclassmen years to commit for a variety of reasons anyways. This rule change impacts Power 5 conference recruits more than anything, whose recruiting timelines are generally much earlier. We STRONGLY encourage recruits to wait to take campus visits before choosing a school, which will not mean waiting until at least the start of junior year.

Free Tickets

Old Rule: The new changes also impact rules allowing college coaches to leave tickets for on-campus athletic events for recruits, which was previously allowed for recruits in any grade.

New Rule: The new rules state that tickets for on-campus athletic events may not be left for recruits prior to the start of their junior year.

What it means for you: This one is pretty self-explanatory. No free college sporting events for you prior to the start of junior year.

Effective Date: Immediately

Recruiting Conversations at Camps and Clinics

Old Rule: In-person recruiting conversations were allowed to take place on campus at any point.

New Rule: Recruiting conversations will not be allowed to take place at camps or clinics prior to September 1 of a recruit’s junior year.

What it means for you: In theory, this is another attempt to push recruiting conversations back to the recruit’s junior year at the earliest. In practice, it’s likely that little will change because this rule will be incredibly hard to enforce. There are certain recruiting rules that are widely broken and seldom enforced, and we would bet that this will fit into that category. There is little stopping a coach from expressing interest in a recruit while working with him at a camp or clinic.

Effective Date: Immediately

Fall Games

This rule change will not impact recruits, but DI programs will now be allowed to play 2 games against outside competition during fall ball without having the games count against the 56 allowed games during the spring. This is a good start for players and coaches who go crazy playing intrasquad games all fall. It’s also good for recruits who will have an opportunity to get out and watch D1 games during the fall and use it as an opportunity to take an objective look at how they compare to the competition at the D1 level.

We will be working to make changes to our content to reflect the new rule changes and appreciate your patience while we get caught up to speed. As always, the best place to go for the most up-to-date rules and eligibility requirements is the NCAA website.


Thanks to Kendall Rodgers and for their breaking news and coverage on the rule changes.