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Spring Signing Week '13: NCAA Changes
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At the 2013 NCAA Division I Board of Directors meeting early this year, the NCAA voted for major changes in procedures for Division I athletic programs, essentially de-regulating the recruitment of prospective student-athletes. Some of these changes would go into effect on July 1, 2013, while other aspects of the sweeping rules changes would start August 1.

Already, some of the approved proposals are up for reconsideration or modification at the Division I Board of Directors meeting in Indianapolis on May 2. Overall, the approved changes encompass a vast range of issues from staffing, to modes of communication, to academic standards, and beyond. Division I collegiate tennis programs and prospective student-athletes in tennis may feel the greatest effect from the following recruiting rule updates:
  • 11-2: cuts back on strict definitions of recruiting functions that must be performed by a head or assistant coach, thereby allowing contact from non-coaching personnel. (Up for reconsideration and possible modification on May 2.)
  • 13-3: eliminates constraints on methods and modes of communication during recruiting, and releases bans on texting, phone calls, contact during dead periods, e-mailing, etc. Unlimited telephone calls will be allowable after July 1 of a student-athlete's junior year of high school. When unlimited electronic forms of communication will be allowed in a student-athlete's high school calendar is still under review. This proposal will go into effect July 1.
  • 13-5A: lifts restrictions on the distribution of printed materials (most commonly, media guides) to recruits, effective July 1. (Up for reconsideration and possible modification on May 2.)

The intent of the old rules was manifold. Primarily, the rules were put in place to even the playing field and promote fair and equal competition among collegiate programs that were disparate in terms of size, budgeting, facilities, etc. Another layer of intent was directed at protecting high school student-athletes from being flooded, particularly during the pressure-filled junior year of school and tournament play, with interruptions and pressure from overly-aggressive coaches and programs. By 2007, text messaging to recruits was banned and phone calls were limited to one call per week.

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