Recruiting Terms You Need to Know

Confused by all the jargon during the college recruiting process? Learn the terms you need to know from STACK Expert Robert Pomazak.


The start of the 2013-2014 high school athletic season is just around the corner, and with it the beginning of the fall recruiting season. Knowing the lingo of the recruiting process will help you out, so here is a list of  NCAA recruiting terms you need to be familiar with.

1. Contact: Face-to-face encounter between you or your parent/legal guardian and a staff member of an athletic department during which dialog occurs, beyond an exchange of greetings.

2. Contact period: Period during which head or assistant coaches can make in-person, off-campus contacts with you to evaluate and discuss your athletic abilities.

3. Dead period: Period during which you cannot make official or unofficial on-campus visits, and coaches cannot make in-person recruiting contacts or evaluations. Coaches can, however, call or write you.

4. Equivalency sport: A sport (e.g., soccer, baseball, volleyball) with a fixed number of scholarships, which can be divided among two or more athletes on a team. Example: a D-I baseball coach can distribute 11.7 scholarships to more than 11 athletes, meaning it's less likely you will receive a full ride.

5. Evaluation period: Period during which D-I and D-II coaches are permitted to visit your high school to assess your academic qualifications and observe your playing abilities in practice and/or games but may not make contact with you.

6. Headcount sport: A sport (e.g., football, basketball) with a maximum number of athletes who can be on scholarship in a given year. Example: men's D-I basketball programs may award only 13 scholarships each year. If you receive a scholarship, only 12 other players can receive awards that year.

7. National Letter of Intent (NLI): A binding agreement in which you declare your intention to attend a college/university for one academic year in exchange for financial aid for that year. Once you sign an NLI, other schools may not contact you, so recruiting pressure is reduced; nevertheless, don't sign an NLI with a school unless you are absolutely sure you want to go there.

8. NCAA Eligibility Center: The Eligibility Center determines whether you are academically eligible to participate in D-I or D-II athletics. You register at the start of your junior year of high school and must be certified through the Center before you can receive an athletic scholarship and subsequently practice or compete during your initial year of enrollment.

9. Official visit: A college/university-paid visit, which can occur only after your first day of class as a high school senior. You are allotted five official visits to D-I and D-II schools, but no more than one to a single school. Visits may not exceed 48 hours.

10. Quiet period: Period during which authorized college athletic department staff may not leave their campuses to make in-person recruiting contacts. They can make contact with you only if you are on their campus.

11. Recruiting: An attempt to secure your enrollment at a particular college/ university for the purpose of having you participate in the school's athletic program.

12. Redshirting: Allows a student-athlete enrolled in a four-year college to spread four years of eligibility over five years. In your redshirt year, you will not lose a year of eligibility. You may attend classes and practice with the team, but you cannot compete in games.

13. Unofficial visit: A visit to a college/university that you pay for. Unlike official visits, there is no limit to the number of unofficial visits you can make before your senior year.

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