An Athlete’s Guide: Junior Year

Welcome back to “An Athlete’s Guide,” your trusted resource for high school sports recruitment. If you’re a rising high school junior with dreams of playing college athletics, understanding the ever-evolving recruitment rules and timelines is essential. Today, The Wire explores the latest changes and how they impact your journey.

Understand, this guide will focus on the football player and recruiting rules regarding college football. While lots of the regulations for recruitment cross over between sports, there are football-specific rules that we cover in this guide as well. 

New Horizons: April 7, 2023

On April 7, 2023, the Division I Football Oversight Committee recommended a comprehensive recruiting model for college football to the Division I Council. Once they became approved later that month, the changes have now become official legislation, with most alterations taking effect from August 1. 

The proposed football comprehensive recruiting model encompasses adjustments to the recruiting calendars for both Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) and FCS programs. It also modifies key aspects of recruitment, including the first date for sending recruiting materials, electronic correspondence, and telephone calls. Let’s break down the changes and their implications for you, the aspiring college athlete.

Recruitment Calendar Adjustments

One of the fundamental changes involves the allocation of evaluation days for schools. During the months of September, October, and November, schools will have 33 evaluation days (42 for U.S. service academies) at their discretion. These are the days when authorized off-campus recruiters can visit a prospective student-athlete’s educational institution. Importantly, visits are limited to one calendar day during this period.

Additionally, a “dead period” is designated from the Monday of the week that includes the initial date for the regular signing period of the National Letter of Intent through the first Sunday in March. For U.S. service academies, there is a quiet period from the Friday immediately after the initial date for the regular signing period of the National Letter of Intent through the first Sunday in March.

During the contact period from April 15 through the Saturday preceding Memorial Day, coaches will have 140 recruiting person days (180 for U.S. service academies). However, there is another dead period from the Sunday before Memorial Day through the following three calendar days.

Initiating Contact: June 15 and Beyond

The revised model standardizes the date for the first opportunity to initiate a telephone call or send recruiting materials and electronic correspondence. Starting from June 15, at the conclusion of a prospect’s sophomore year in high school, colleges can begin reaching out to you. Importantly, there are no restrictions on the number of telephone calls an institution may initiate once they have the green light to contact you.

Off-Campus Contact with Junior Recruits

Several rules pertain specifically to off-campus contact with prospects:

  • Off-campus recruiting contacts cannot be made with an individual (or their family members) before January 1 of the individual’s junior year in high school.
  • Each school is limited to eight off-campus, in-person contacts with a prospective student-athlete and the prospect’s family members for the prospect’s junior and senior years combined. These contacts can only occur once per week during your junior year.
  • Contacts during your junior year must take place at your educational institution.
  • Schools are allowed up to two off-campus contacts during the January contact period of your junior year and one off-campus contact during the spring contact period of your junior year.
  • The head football coach can make only one off-campus contact during your junior year and one during your senior year with you or your family members.

Unique FCS Opportunity: On-Campus Evaluations

The FCS introduces an intriguing opportunity: on-campus evaluations. These evaluations must meet specific conditions, including:

  • Occurring during an unofficial visit after the prospect’s scholastic season has concluded.
  • Taking place during the month of June.
  • Requiring a medical examination or evaluation administered or supervised by a family or team physician.
  • The activities must be non-contact, last no longer than one hour, and exclude protective equipment.

The Bigger Picture

These changes aim to strike a balance between the needs of student-athletes, coaches, and administrators. They’re designed to modernize the recruitment model and provide everyone involved with a clearer, more transparent process.

As a rising high school junior, understanding these rules and timelines will help you navigate the college football recruitment landscape effectively. Most of these changes are directly affecting juniors and it’s important – for football players specifically – to be made aware of what they are allowed and expected to do. We don’t want our athletes with Signing Day Sports to fall behind. 

Remember that Signing Day Sports is your ally, here to provide you with guidance and resources as you pursue your athletic dreams. Stay informed, stay focused, and embrace the journey ahead. Your future as a college athlete is unfolding, one step at a time, and we want every one of you to reach your signing day. 

(Top Photo: David Minton/East Valley Tribune)

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