Division I Softball Coaches are calling for all recruiting contact for student-athletes to begin at the start of the junior year of high school. This is a contrast to the proposed legislation before the NCAA Division I Council that would allow recruiting conversations to begin at the beginning of a student-athlete’s sophomore year of high school.
The response is from the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) whose Division I membership submitted the comments to the NCAA on the proposed changes to the rules, which include:
- No recruiting conversations with Prospective Student-Athlete’s (PSA’s) until September 1 of their sophomore year of high school
- No game tickets to PSA’s until September 1 of the PSA’s sophomore year of high school
- Official visits moved to September 1 of the PSA’s junior year of high school
The rule essentially allows verbal commitment of athletes at the beginning of their sophomore year of high school. Currently, there are no restrictions.
The NCAA Division I council is scheduled to vote on the legislation in April 2018.
In its statement, the NFCA felt that there are loopholes in the current recommendations before the Division I Council from the Student Athlete Experience Committee (SAEC).
“The SAEC did not address incoming telephone calls,” the release stated. “This means that recruiting communication initiated by telephone from a PSA to a collegiate coach remains permissible at any point in time.”
The NFCA’s statement praised the legislation adopted by Lacrosse which sets September 1 of the junior year as the start date for all recruiting contact, citing that the “‘bright line’ for all recruiting contact at a later more appropriate age for PSA’s (prospective student athletes) as exactly what was needed to address the problem of early recruiting.”
The issue was vigorously discussed at the NFCA’s National Convention in December. The group states that a follow-up survey revealed that 80% of D1 coaches support Sept. 1 of the Junior year as the start of recruiting contact. 84% of coaches favored the structure of the lacrosse proposal over the SAEC proposal.
NFCA President and University of Tennessee co-head coach Karen Weekly expressed the need for action in the statement, “The biggest problem facing college softball today is early recruiting, but it is not going to change unless the coaches and the NCAA work together to make it change.”