Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Recruiting Rules are Forever Changing

If you're a student athlete in the market for college recruiting now, it's tough to stay on top of the rules as the NCAA is constantly tweaking them in an effort to keep some pretense of control. Here are three that have happened fairly recently:

Two years ago, the NCAA put the kabosh on coaches texting recruits because it was so intrusive and was costing kids all kinds of money. Very recently, they ruled that the use of Twitter is acceptable (as is e-mail). So now, coaches are quickly getting facile with Twitter as a way to develop communities around their programs. Creates images of the Pied Piper. If there are programs you're very interested in, you may want to follow the coach on Twitter.

Coaches are no longer allowed to attend and view basketball players at spring (April and May) AAU tournaments, they are only allowed to view in July. Will this put more influence into the hands of scouts? And will elite teams stop attending these tournaments?

The age at which male basketball players can officially be considered "prospective athletes" has dropped two years to seventh and eighth graders. Previously, a prospective athlete was a kid who had begun taking classes in the ninth grade. But younger high potential players were attending elite summer camps giving the coaches sponsoring those camps a leg up on developing relationships with these kids. By dropping the age, the NCAA can now legislate the limits of these camp relationships. So despite this looking like the NCAA is encouraging coaches to recruit kids even younger, the opposite is true--they're trying to exert a little more control over what has been out of their control until now.

These may not impact you personally but recognize that the contact you may or may not be having with a specific coach may be as much a reflection of the constraints the rules impose as a statement about what a coach thinks of you. And try to stay on top of the rules by asking your high school coach or athletic director, your AAU or club coach, or the college coaches you contact.

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