College Recruiting: What are the Rules?

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Being recruited by a collegiate swim program is very exciting and can lead to some amazing opportunities. However, you need to be sure you know the rules of what you and the college can and cannot do. These rules are in place to be sure that every athlete is given a fair amount of time to interact with different college programs.

1. What’s the difference between official and unofficial visits?

Any visit to a college campus by a college-bound student-athlete or his or her parents paid for by the college is an official visit. Visits paid for by college-bound student-athletes or their parents are unofficial visits.

During an official visit the college can pay for transportation to and from the college for the prospect, lodging and three meals per day for both the prospect and the parent or guardian, as well as reasonable entertainment expenses including three tickets to a home sports event.

The only expenses a college-bound student-athlete may receive from a college during an unofficial visit are three tickets to a home sports event.

2. Coaches may not call you until June 1 after your Junior year.

While you can call or write to a college before this time, a coach or official representative may not have contact with you before this time period. A “contact” occurs any time a college coach says more than hello during a face-to-face contact with a college-bound student-athlete or his or her parents off the college’s campus. However, during an official contact period, a college coach may have face-to-face contact with college-bound student-athletes or their parents, watch student-athletes compete and visit their high schools, and write or telephone student-athletes or their parents.

3. Pay attention to the “evaluation period.”

During an evaluation period a college coach may watch college-bound student-athletes compete, visit their high schools, and write or telephone student-athletes or their parents. However, a college coach may not have face-to-face contact with college-bound student-athletes or their parents off the college’s campus during an evaluation period. The NCAA sets up recruiting calendars to help promote the well-being prospective student-athletes and coaches and ensure competitive equity by defining certain time periods in which recruiting may or may not occur in a particular sport.

4. You can’t accept any gift from the school or anyone affiliated with it.

This includes t-shirts, souvenirs, money, dinners, etc. Anything with a monetary value is counted as a “gift.”

5. You can’t practice with them when you are visiting.

When you go visit, you may not jump in and practice with the team or athletes. While this would be an excellent way to evaluate how you fit into the program, it is simple not allowed.

We hope these 5 simple tips help. For full information, be sure to read the NCAA Guide for College-Bound Student Athlete.

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