NCAA rule change 'levels the playing field' for AU recruits, says athletic department official

Change is designed to allow prospective athletes more time to make decisions about college

NCAA rule change 'levels the playing field' for AU recruits, says athletic department official

The NCAA announced changes to recruiting rules that allow schools to host official visits with prospective student-athletes earlier in their high school careers.  

Beginning in the next academic year, prospective student-athletes will follow a recruiting model that more closely resembles non-athletic recruiting schedules, the NCAA Division I Student-Athlete Advisory Committee announced Wednesday through a press release.

For prospective student-athletes in sports other than football and basketball, official visits to colleges can begin Sept. 1 of their junior year of high school instead of the first day of their senior year. The new model is designed to allow prospective student-athletes more time to make decisions about their future after high school.

As part of the new model, college athletic departments cannot take part in any prospective student-athlete’s unofficial visit at schools until Sept. 1 of the recruit’s junior year of high school. The change came after students on NCAA advisory boards advocated for the adjustment.

“Early recruiting has been a hot topic for years now,” said Andrew Smith, AU’s associate athletics director for compliance and internal operations. “This benefits American specifically because we have such high academic standards. We were never able to recruit early because our admissions office never could say a student was transmissible in ninth grade. We need to see transcripts and test scores. This levels the playing field for us.”

Smith said that this will allow high school-aged student athletes to enjoy their time in high school while also allowing them to strengthen their academics.

Smith added that AU’s athletic department is planning a meeting with each sport’s head coach in May to discuss what this recruitment change will look like for future prospects.

Additionally, a second proposal, targeted at NCAA transfer policies, received support from the Division I Transfer Working Group after meetings this week in Indianapolis. If passed, the policy would re-write the student-athlete transfer policy, removing “the ability of schools to influence athletic scholarships provided to student-athletes after they transfer,” a second memo from the NCAA stated.

Instead, student-athletes would be able to submit written notification of their intent to transfer and have their name entered in a national database to re-open their recruitment. The proposal will be voted on during the NCAA Division I Council’s annual meetings in June.

“[These transfer policies] are just recommended by the Division I council,” Smith said. “The change that we know for sure is happening is that right now, coaches and departments have the ability to restrict students from speaking to other schools.”

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