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.
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