Although you don’t have to be an expert on everything to do with recruiting, it’s helpful to know some of the key terms. This knowledge will help you as you move through the process. Here’s my short list of terms:
Here are some basic terms to be familiar with as you move through your scholarship and recruiting journey.
Contact. If a college coach has any in-person contact with a high school student-athlete or parent away from the college campus, and says anything more than “hello,” it is a contact. In addition, if a college coach has any contact with the student-athlete or parent at the athlete’s high school or any location where he is competing or practicing, that is also a contact.
Contact Period. This is the period of time a coach is allowed to have an in-person contact with a student athlete or his/her parents on or off the college campus. The coach may also watch an athlete play or visit his/her high school during this period, may write or telephone, and have the athlete and parents visit the college campus.
Dead Period. This does not mean that the coach has to cease any contact at all with the student-athlete or parents. It means that he or she may not have any in-person contact during the dead period. However, calls, letters and emails are permitted.
Evaluation. This is any activity in which a coach evaluates a prospect’s academic or athletic ability, most often through visiting the high school to watch the athlete practice or compete.
Evaluation Period. While a college coach can watch an athlete compete, or visit the high school, he or she cannot have in-person conversations with the athlete or parents off the college campus. The coach can write or call and the athlete and parents are permitted to visit the college campus during this period.
Official Visit. Any visit to a college campus by an athlete and parents which is paid for by the college. Expenses are limited to: (1) Transportation to and from the college; (2) Room and meals (three per day) while visiting the college; and (3) Reasonable entertainment expenses, including three complimentary admissions to a home athletics contest.
Before a college may invite you on an official visit, the athlete must provide the college with a copy of his or her high school transcript (Division I only) and SAT, ACT or PLAN score and register with the NCAA Eligibility Center.
Prospective Student-Athlete. A student become a prospective student-athlete when he or she starts ninth-grade classes; or before your ninth-grade year, a college gives the athlete, relatives or friends any financial aid or other benefits that the college does not provide to students generally.
Recruiting Consultant. A consultant provides personal service to lead a student-athlete through the recruiting process. There are a range of consultant relationships, depending on how much the family wants to spend. A consultant keeps the athlete accountable to get tasks done throughout the recruiting process, as well, which is an advantage. The costs can range from $1,000-$5,000, depending on the level of service and how long the agreement is (the earlier an athlete starts in his high school career, the more expensive it will be). Because of the cost, few families can afford a consultant, but good consultants often provide results for the families. However, it is important to know that the families must be the ones who cultivate the relationships with the coaches and negotiate the scholarships.
Recruiting Service. A service will help student-athletes get exposure to college coaches. Services like this will prepare the introductory package and distribute it to a list of college coaches on behalf of the student athlete. In most cases, the athlete must follow up with the coaches and build the relationships with them. The cost for services usually ranges from $500-$1,000 or more.
Quiet Period. A college coach cannot have any in-person contact with the student-athlete or parents off the college campus. In addition, the coach may not watch the prospect play, nor visit the high school. However, the coach can still write or phone the athlete or parents, and the family may visit the college campus.
Unofficial Visit. This includes any visit an athlete and parents make to a college campus, paid for by the family. The only thing the coach can provide the family is three admissions to a home athletic event. There is not limit to the number of unofficial visits an athlete can make, and they can be done at any time. However, the coach is not permitted to talk with the athlete or parents during the dead period.
Verbal Commitment. This is a student-athlete’s commitment to a college before he or she signs a National Letter of Intent. While a verbal commitment can be announced by a student-athlete at any time, it is not binding on either party—the athlete or the school.
I encourage you to spend some time on the NCAA website for more details, rules and regulations on recruiting. There are some excellent pages that will give you key information, such as the recruiting calendar.