More money, more phone calls, and fancier mail. If you're being recruited to play Division I sports, all of that is coming your way as a result of new rule changes the NCAA adopted last Saturday.
In the most sweeping deregulation of the recruiting process ever attempted, the NCAA adopted 25 proposals that drastically change the rules on off-campus recruiting, phone calls, text messaging and extra benefits for student-athletes. When the new rules take effect on Aug. 1, here are the eight changes that will have the biggest impact on athletes.
1. No more limits on calls, texts or tweets
Under the old rules, coaches were only allowed to call you at certain times of year, and for some sports, there were caps on the number of times they could contact you electronically—for example, a football coach could only call you once between April 15 and May 31 of your junior year, and coaches could not text you at any time during the recruiting process.
No more. Division I coaches can now communicate with you as many times as they want and in any way they want, as long as it is private. That means that phone calls, text messages, private Facebook messages and direct messages on Twitter are all permitted as soon as coaches can contact you. The date when coaches can initiate contact with a recruit varies from sport to sport.
Learn how you can get recruited by making Facebook work for you.
2. Bigger, better snail mail
Just last year, coaches could not mail you a media guide—but they could e-mail it to you. If that same coach were to send you a note, it had to be on stock that was 8½" x 11" or smaller. Postcards were relegated to 4¼" x 6". If you wanted a game program, you had to go buy one.
With the new changes, Division I schools can now send you any printed materials—including full media guides and game programs. The change also opens the door to other audio/visual materials.
3. Coaches have more help to recruit you
Gone are the days when coaches were the only ones evaluating prospect talent. Now, every staff member at a school can call you, send you emails and letters, review tape or host you on visits. Non-coaching staff are now permitted to do everything except watch you play in-person or visit you at home or in school. Most likely, this will mean that the football director of operations and non-coaching recruiting coordinators will be contacting recruits more often. Learn how to maximize your communication with coaches.
4. Camp and clinic participation and employment
Currently, football players at Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) schools cannot work at or participate in their own school's football camps and clinics. High school seniors and two-year college students can't enroll and participate in any Division I camps and clinics.
The new rule removes these restrictions. Players can work at their school's football clinics and get paid for their work. Even incoming recruited freshmen can work at these camps. And starting August 2013, all high school seniors and two-year college students can participate in football camps.
5. Calculating "actual and necessary" expenses
Division I student-athletes are penalized if they compete in non-scholastic competitions and receive prize money or financial support greater than the "actual and necessary" expenses they incurred to compete in the event. What counts as actual and necessary expenses? Things like meals, lodging, equipment, medical expenses, entry fees and transportation.
Under the new rules, the calculation of expenses is based on total expenses spread over an entire calendar year instead of event-by-event. This will simplify the amateurism certification process that all recruits must pass, especially for elite individual athletes like tennis players.
6. More money
Division I student-athletes can now receive $300 per year beyond "actual and necessary" expenses to compete in non-scholastic events and competitions. The $300 can only come from approved sources such as event sponsors, amateur teams and club teams. None of the money can come from boosters, agents or professional teams.
7. Athletes can fundraise
Athletes can now ask individuals to sponsor them and cover their competition expenses, as long as the person providing the funds is not an agent, booster or a professional sports team representative. Under the old rules, athletes could fundraise, but not to cover competition costs.
8. More pay for your performances
Under the old rules, only prospects (unsigned recruits) could accept prize money in both individual and team sports. Collegiate student-athletes could receive prize money if they played an individual sport, but not a team sport.
With the rule change, both prospects and current college athletes who participate in both team and individual sports can accept prize money from a sponsor of a non-scholastic competition. Again, the prize money cannot exceed "actual and necessary" expenses—unless you're a tennis player who hasn't started college yet, in which case you can earn up to $10,000 a year.
Stay up-to-date on all every new recruiting rule through STACK's Recruiting Guide.