Recruiting revisions being discussed by NCAA Rules Working Group

The NCAA on Tuesday published a report on how proposed changes to their rules would affect recruiting practices, with hockey at the forefront of these proposals.

To start, coaches could send unlimited text messages and other forms of electronic communications if a recruiting rule proposed by the Rules Working Group is approved in January by the Division I Legislative Council.

As well, the proposals would lift restrictions in all sports on the frequency and modes of communication and would also allow men’s hockey coaches to begin off-campus recruiting and have off-campus contact on June 15 following the completion of a recruit’s sophomore year.

Another proposal would limit a school’s recruiting materials to general and electronic correspondence (such as brochures or emails with attachments), but would lift many of the restrictions on printed and electronic general correspondence (such as ink color). Personalized recruiting materials and those created solely for recruiting purposes are still prohibited.

A third proposal would allow recruiting communication to start Sept. 1 of a recruit’s junior year, except in basketball, football, men’s ice hockey, swimming and diving, cross country and track and field. The recruiting communication date would not change for those sports as they already have set or are considering earlier start dates in separate legislation or proposed legislation.

Off-campus recruiting dates would not change for any sport.

And in the ever-changing battle for recruits with major junior players, the report stated that there is now another change for the NCAA.

“Feedback from men’s ice hockey coaches indicated strong support for both a consistent recruiting start date and deregulation of the restrictions on modes and frequency of communication,” according to the report. “Traditionally, men’s ice hockey coaches have favored an earlier recruiting start date because they compete for student-athletes against various junior leagues and athletes who participate in such leagues (such as the Ontario Hockey League, Western Hockey League and the Quebec Major Junior League) can jeopardize their eligibility.”

The next step for the above proposals are for them to go before the Legislative Council for an initial review later this month. Per the Division I legislative process, proposals will not be considered adopted until the Board of Directors has met and had the opportunity to discuss them.