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Recruiting Terms and Calendar for 2017-18
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July marks the beginning of another recruiting year. Recruiting expert Dede Allen updates her calendar with new rules and important dates for 2017-18 - and she also has a primer on basic recruiting terms.

 

Understanding the rules - academic and recruiting - for the schools you are considering attending is essential. For example, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), and National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) are governing bodies that specify courses you must complete to satisfy eligibility requirements (e.g., NCAA Academic Standards). Your specific school may be subject to additional requirements that are self-imposed by the institution or mandated by an athletic conference.

It pays to know the rules of the game.

 

Overview

The intentions of all eligibility standards are to ensure that:

  • you are a student in good standing,
  • taking a prescribed course curriculum,
  • while maintaining amateur status.

Toward that end, there are a number of official resources available for every level.

For the NCAA, start with the Eligibility Center. From there, you can navigate to pages on Academic Standards, Amateurism, and more.

Current high school athletes considering playing NCAA tennis should take a look at these academic standards for Division I and II which took effect last year. More information can be found at the NCAA eligibility portal 2Point3.org.

The NAIA has its own Eligibility Center with a nice FAQ.

The NJCAA maintains an Eligibility Corner with links to information and answers.

 

Differences within NCAA Divisions

The NCAA is broken up into three divisions: Division I, Division II, and Division III. There are many differences between the divisions, including the number and type of sports offered, scheduling requirements, and minimums/maximums on financial aid.

From a tennis recruiting standpoint, there are a couple of things to keep in mind:

  • Division I and Division II institutions offer financial aid commitments for participation in athletics via the National Letter of Intent (NLI - see below).
  • Division III schools are not subject to most of the restrictions listed below. D-III coaches are welcome to send you materials at any time and may initiate contact freely after your junior year.
 

Recruiting Contact Defined

People have a general understanding of recruiting, but how is it defined?

The NCAA defines recruiting as "any solicitation of prospective student-athletes or their parents by an institutional staff member or by a representative of the institution's athletics interests for the purpose of securing a prospective student-athlete's enrollment and ultimate participation in the institution's intercollegiate athletics program."

Keep in mind that any contact with anyone affiliated with a college program - even a booster - is subject to recruiting compliance rules.

 

Checklist and Rules by Year

The following table lists important recruiting dates to keep in mind.

PERIOD ACTIVITY
9th Grade
  • Start keeping track of your complete player record and significant wins.
  • It is a good idea to take advantage of reputable free services - like those provided at TennisRecruiting.net. If you decide to use such a service, keep your profile updated and current.
  • You may receive camp brochures and questionnaires.
10th Grade
  • Stay on track with your coursework and monitor the approved core courses. (See above.)
  • Continue updating your player record.
  • Start researching schools that you have heard of in the past and may want to consider.
  • You are allowed to take unofficial visits to schools.
  • Coaches may not initiate contact with players.
  • You may initiate a call to the coach - but the coach may not call you - they are not allowed to.
  • You may receive camp brochures and questionnaires.
11th Grade
  • Register with the appropriate eligibility centers (NCAA, NAIA).
  • Try to take the SAT and/or ACT during your junior year. Request test scores to be sent to the appropriate eligibility centers ("9999" for NCAA, "9876" for NAIA).
  • Understand the GPA and board scores necessary for admission to colleges of interest. The governing bodies sets minimum standards only - your choices may have more stringent standards.
  • You are allowed to take unofficial visits to schools.
  • You can receive approved recruiting materials starting September 1.
  • You may initiate contact with college coaches.
  • Authorized athletics staff members from U.S Service Academies (Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and Merchant Marine) may contact players during their junior year.
  • Coaches may contact you by telephone, email, and off-campus:
    • Division I - phone and electronic correspondence only after September 1 of your junior year
    • Division II - unlimited contact after June 15 prior to junior year
    • Division III - no restrictions
    • NAIA - no restrictions
    • NJCAA - no restrictions
  Summer After  
11th Grade
  • Make sure that you are registered with the appropriate eligibility center. (See above.)
  • Test scores must be reported directly to the appropriate eligibility centers ("9999" for NCAA, "9876" for NAIA). You may also want to consider updating this information at TennisRecruiting.net.
  • Immediately after you complete your junior year, coaches from NCAA Division III schools may contact you - without any limitations.
  • Off-campus contact is permitted during your junior year:
    • Division I - beginning July 1 following your junior year
    • Division II - beginning June 15 prior to your junior year
    • Division III - no restrictions
    • NAIA - no restrictions
    • NJCAA - no restrictions
  • Have your high school guidance counselor send a copy of your transcript to the Eligibility Center. This applies to all high schools attended.
  • You are allowed to take unofficial visits to schools.
12th Grade
  • If you have not already done so, you must register with the appropriate eligibility centers if you have interest in NCAA Division I or II schools or NAIA schools. (See above.) You cannot play your freshman year until this is done.
  • Can take official visits beginning the first day of school your senior year.
  • Only one official visit per college. A maximum of five official visits are allowed for Divisions I schools. There is no limit to official visits to Division II or III colleges.
  • Can take unofficial visits to schools of interest.
  • Coaches are permitted three in-person, off-campus contacts per prospect (this includes relatives or legal guardians) starting on the above listed summer dates.
  • Do not sign National Letter of Intent (NLI) prior to 7:00 am on the first dates listed or after the final signing date:
    • November - early signing period. (Nov 8-15, 2017 for this year)
    • April - late signing period. (Apr 11 - Aug 1, 2018 for this year.)
  • Players may only take six months off after completing their senior year without losing college eligibility. After the six months, players may NOT play ANY organized tennis competition (local, club, USTA, etc.) without losing more eligibility.
  • One other note is that Division III schools are not subject to the majority of these restrictions. Division III schools can send you written materials at any time, there is no limit on the number of phone calls or when they can be made, coaches can contact you right after your sophomore year, and there is no limit to the number of official visits you can take (but only one per school).

     

    Recruiting Terms

    There are a number of terms that are used in college recruiting. Here is a quick list of terms you should understand for college tennis.

    TERM MEANING
    Contact
    Any off-campus, face to face meeting with you or your parents - that consists of more than a "hello".
    College Visit
    Official Visit - You and your parents visit a college campus paid for by the college (including transportation, room and meals).
    Unofficial Visit - You and your parents visit a college campus at your own expense.
    Contact Period
    Coaches may have three in-person contacts on or off campus with you or your parents. Visitation by you to a college campus is allowed.
     
    A visit by a coach to your school or an event is allowed. They may also phone (once a week) or write during this time.
     
    At tournaments, coaches may not talk to you once you have registered for the event until you are completely out of the entire event.
    Dead Period
    The coach may not have any in-person contact with you or your parents at any time. They may call or write you or your parents during this time.
     
    Dates: Nov 6-8 (7am), 2017 and Apr 9-11 (7am), 2018.
    National Letter
    Signing
    Over 600 D-I and D-II schools use this binding contract. Do not sign prior to 7:00 am (local time) on the following dates or after the final signing date: Nov 8-15, 2017 and Apr 11 through Aug 1, 2018. For more on the letter, click here.
     

    Other Information

    In addition to the official resources from the NCAA, NAIA, and NJCAA outlined above, there are a number of other information services available for you to investigate:

     

    I hope that this primer has been helpful to you. Please feel free to contact me if you have questions.

     
     

    About Wilson

    Wilson Tennis is proud to sponsor the Recruiting 101 series of articles at TennisRecruiting.net.

    Connect with Wilson on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube - or on their website.

     

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    About Dede Allen

    Dede Allen is a world-renowned college recruiting expert who is intimately familiar with both college and junior tennis. Allen was head coach of the Wake Forest University women's tennis team for seven years, and she was named ACC Coach of the Year in 1987. Since her college coaching days, Allen served the USTA for over 14 years as Administrator for USA Tennis Junior Competition and liaison to the NCAA, NAIA, and NJCAA. Allen is the author of three books on recruiting, including the USTA Guide for Prospective College Athletes, the recently-revised Collegiate Guide for High School Tennis Players, and the Collegiate Guide for High School Athletes. Today, Allen presents seminars throughout the country to prospective college tennis players.

    Allen writes a periodic column at TennisRecruiting.net where she provides advice and answers your questions. You can submit a question to Dede for her to answer directly - or in a future column.

     
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    Page updated on Monday, July 10, 2017
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