Posted On: 06/13/19 11:18 AM
The Class of 2021 has found themselves in a relatively unique position in regards to NCAA recruiting rules over the past couple years. After the most recent rule changes put a stop to any recruiting communication with college coaches until June 15 after an athlete’s Sophomore year in high school, the emails, texts, calls, and all other lines of communication are back open. The process resumes, and this class will soon be back to resuming what has been a whirlwind of change across the volleyball recruiting landscape.
The Class of 2021 has just finished their Sophomore year of high school. Some of the top athletes were most likely communicating with college
coaches as early as their 14s year of club where they could have been 14 years old (maybe even 13) talking with college coaches. A very nerve wracking process for athletes, parents to be talking with coaches they may have only seen on ESPN, The Big Ten Network, and across team Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook accounts. For the few, some were presented with a full ride scholarship. Some hadn’t even set foot in a high school class and were already presented with an offer that was hard to refuse. Some pulled the trigger, others waited and in 2018 the first round of NCAA recruiting rules were passed which changed how unofficial visits could be conducted, as well as the 2019 recruiting calendar pushing back the evaluation period for college coaches going out to evaluate off campus from MLK weekend in January to Presidents Day in January. This also extended the quiet period in May, where in previous years having Memorial Day be opening weekend of the summer evaluation period to now being the first weekend of June.
In April 2019, more recruiting rules were passed. The purpose behind the rule changes is to slow down the recruiting process. College coaches will not be allowed to contact athletes until June 15 after the potential student athlete’s Sophomore year. Even third party communication through a club coach or recruiting coordinator was not allowed, which prior to the rule changes, college coaches would pass along information to the club coach, club coach to the athlete, and the athlete would contact the college coach (the college coach just couldn’t directly contact the athlete). A financial offer of an athletic scholarship will no longer be a factor as well. That most likely wouldn’t happen until the official or unofficial visit happens prior to the potential student athlete’s Junior year of high school.
How Has This Impacted The Class of 2021?
Athletes in the Class of 2021 had under two weeks in April to make a decision. Do they commit before May 1? Or, do they wait until June 15 to
resume communication with college coaches? In a matter of two years for this class, the recruiting landscape was a little bit like the “Wild West”. From starting the process with few rules and regulation to then stop communicating with college coaches all together until June 15.
With June 15 just a few days away, there will be a sense of relief for all parties involved. For the athletes, who were spending time reaching out to coaches, sending video, schedules, keeping in touch – they were actually able to take a little break from the process. After all, it wasn’t like their fellow classmates were getting an edge on them because the same rules applied to them as well. For college coaches, the communication can be much more direct, and for club coaches and recruiting coordinators there would be a little bit of relief and can spend more time advising athletes instead of playing secretary (which there will still be a little bit of that as well ;).
How Will This Help In The Future?
There is always going to be a domino effect in recruiting, that happens in every sport. The top programs and athletes are going to make their decisions rather quickly, the dominos fall from there down to mid major programs as well as Division 2 on down. Instead of that first domino falling when athletes are in eighth grade, it will be later, however the dominoes might fall much quicker. Athletes might be on a tighter timeline when presented with an offer, coaches could make offers quicker without as strong of a relationship with the potential student athlete, but overall this is going to be better for all parties involved. There is change, it’s scary, it can be uncomfortable, but athletes can focus on development in their 14s-16s level instead of worrying about what offers they could get after a weekend tournament and what coaches are or aren’t watching. In five years I’m sure there will be more changes and tweaks, it’s inevitable, but in this case volleyball and recruiting is taking a stance and trying to do what is best for coaches and athletes all part of the process.