Recruiting Terminology

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Get schooled on these NCAA words and phrases so you enter the recruiting process informed and aware of how they apply to you as a student-athlete.

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. If you just stop and say hello to a coach, your contact isn't "official." However, if you meet the coach for lunch, you've had an official contact.

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

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Get schooled on these NCAA words and phrases so you enter the recruiting process informed and aware of how they apply to you as a student-athlete.

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. If you just stop and say hello to a coach, your contact isn't "official." However, if you meet the coach for lunch, you've had an official contact.

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

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

Equivalency sport: A sport [e.g., soccer, baseball, volleyball] with a fixed number of scholarships that 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 11.7 athletes, meaning it's less likely you will receive a full ride. The coach can't award more money than the amount allotted to the team.

Evaluation period: Period during which D-I and -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.

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 may award only 13 scholarships each year. So if you receive a scholarship, only 12 more players can receive awards in that year.

National Leter 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.

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 you must be certified through the Center before you can receive an athletic scholarship and subsequently practice or compete during your initial year of enrollment.

Official visit: A college/ university-paid visit that 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, regardless of the number of sports you play. Visits may not exceed 48 hours.

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

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.

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

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.

Related Links:
2008 Recruiting Dates 

Controlling Your Recruiting Opportunities

Receiving Financial Aid 

Division & Sport Breakdown

Academic Eligibility Requirements 

Getting Noticed by College Coaches 

Communicating with a College Coach 

Gauging a Coach's Interest 

College Visits 

Researching Colleges 


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Topics: COACH | SCHOLARSHIPS