Wading Through Recruiting Moratorium Confusion

By Tom Mauldin 9/5/2020


With the NCAA’s decision to extend its Division 1 recruiting moratorium through the end of the year, confusion remains high as to who can recruit, who can’t recruit and what are the new timelines and recruiting parameters.

In mid-September, the NCAA suspended all in-person recruiting for D1 sports meaning D1 coaches are not allowed to meet face-to-face with a recruit off campus or do any in-person scouting.

The NCAA has requested all colleges to stop official and unofficial visits. Basically, despite this request, recruiting will not stop completely as coaches and recruits can still communicate via email, phone, text and social media.

And strength and conditioning coaches are allowed to virtually observe workouts if requested by a prospective athlete.

Fastpitch Northwest has often used this platform to promote being your own pro-active recruiter. Continue to contact coaches regardless of whether they are recruiting or not. Get your information on file and be persistent. Just because they can not contact you does not mean you should not contact them.

College coaches from all divisions and associations want to hear from prospective athletes. Receiving communication from athletes is more important than ever with recruiting and budget limitations.

That NCAA D1 decision is where the confusion begins as there are separate guidelines for D2 and D3 colleges. Again, the main limitations are for D1 athletics.

And the NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) and other organizations, such as the Northwest Athletic Conference (the Northwest’s alignment of two-year colleges), are not governed by the NCAA.

Though there were recruiting limitations in spring and summer for all associations, normal D2 recruiting schedules resumed Sept. 1, and coaches can resume some recruiting activity.

There are no major limitations for D3 schools and again we highly recommend prospective athletes contact any programs of interest.

The most often asked questions about the recruiting embargo are ‘can coaches attend Travel tournaments prior to Jan. 1’ and ‘can coaches attend off-campus sports camps prior to Jan. 1.’

The answer to both questions is NO — D1 coaches can not attend.

However, D2 and D3 coaches are allowed to attend in-person events. Some schools, however, have placed holds on budgets thus limiting recruiting travel for coaches.

St. Martin’s University head coach James Peterson noted that he would have a coach at the Oct. 10-11 tournament to be played in Medford.

Clackamas College head coach Jessica Buel said NWAC schools are also cleared to recruit.

A suggestion for any recruit or their parents is to stay up to date with releases from the NCAA and the NAIA.

As we’ve learned from the COVID pandemic changes happen almost daily as COVID positive and negative tests roller coaster not just from region to region but state to state and county to county.

While many states have reopened some form of on-campus education and sized-down athletic competition, several have not, including Washington and Oregon. State mandates have pushed fall sports back to 2021 with abbreviated proposals hoping for some form of sports competition.

Washington moved fall sports by completely restructuring the 2020-21 sports season switching for a three-sport season to a four-sport season. Washington does have a fall season for non-contact sports such as cross country, slow pitch softball, tennis, golf and swimming. These seasons will conclude prior to Thanksgiving.

In Oregon, the OSAA (Oregon School Activities Association) opted for shorter seasons (7 weeks long) and moved them to 2021. The OSAA also waived all out-of-season coaching policies for the 2020-21 school year.

The California Interscholastic Federation also has deemed that fall and winter seasons will start in January.

Idaho started fall sports in late August and Rigby is the state’s top-ranked football team with a 6-0 record. Softball is scheduled to start on time in late February.

Stay tuned and we can not emphasize enough to be pro-active with your recruiting.

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