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NCAA Contact Periods

NCAA Contact Periods

This article covers important NCAA contact periods for your sport. These dates indicate when you can have recruiting-like conversations with coaches.

During your recruiting process, it is important to know that college coaches have limitations on when and how they can contact you, watch you compete, or offer you a spot on their roster. 

It’s also essential to know that these rules regarding communication, visits, or in-person conversations are only for college coaches and are not imposed on the student-athletes themselves. 

Below, we will discuss the different NCAA Contact Periods and how and when they will affect you during your recruiting process. 

When Can I Contact College Coaches?

Short answer - anytime!

As a prospective student-athlete, you can contact coaches at any time! Contact period restrictions are only in place to restrict when college coaches contact you. That means there are no rules restricting when student-athletes can reach out to college coaches.

Depending on your age and which NCAA Division you are interested in, college coaches may be unable to have direct recruiting conversations with you until June 15th, August 1st, or September 1st going into your Junior Year. If you reach out before these dates, expect a generic response requesting you to fill out a recruiting questionnaire or provide information about an upcoming camp or clinic.

While college coaches may not be able to contact you, it’s important that you reach out to them earlier in their process to get on their radar. 

When Can NCAA College Coaches Contact Me? 

Depending on your sport and which NCAA division you are pursuing, college coaches (in most cases) can contact you and have recruiting-like conversations starting on either June 15th or September 1st during your Sophomore Year. 

Division I Initial Contact Dates

For almost all sports, college coaches can contact you to have recruiting-like conversations on June 15th or September 1st, immediately following your Sophomore Year (see the sport-specific timelines in the table below to see which date applies to your sport). The only exception to this is Men’s Ice Hockey. In this sport, college coaches can initiate recruiting-like conversations with athletes starting January 1st during the athlete’s Sophomore Year.

Men's and Women's Lacrosse, Softball
Direct Communication Sept. 1
Unofficial Visits Sept. 1
Official Visits Sept. 1
Baseball
Direct Communication Aug. 1
Unofficial Visits Sept. 1
Official Visits Sept. 1
Women's Basketball
Direct Communication Sept. 1
Unofficial Visits Anytime
Official Visits Thurs. following the Final 4 (Apr.)
Football
Direct Communication Sept. 1
Unofficial Visits Anytime
Official Visits Apr. 1
Men's Ice Hockey
Direct Communication Jan. 1, Sophmore Year
Unofficial Visits Jan. 1, Sophmore Year
Official Visits Aug. 1
All Other DI Sports
Direct Communication Jun. 15
Unofficial Visits Aug. 1
Official Visits Aug. 1

Division II Initial Contact Dates

College coaches can have recruiting-like conversations with you starting June 15th after your Sophomore Year.

All Sports
Direct Communication Jun. 15
Unofficial Visits Jun. 15
Official Visits Jun. 15

Division DIII Initial Contact Dates

There are no rules surrounding communication between prospective student-athletes and DIII coaches! No matter your grad year, NCAA DIII college coaches can have recruiting-like conversations with you at any point in the recruiting process.

Other Dates in the NCAA Recruiting Timeline

While it’s fairly common knowledge that “contact periods” restrict when college coaches can initiate recruiting-like conversations, many are unaware there are several other times during the year when coaches cannot reach out. 

In addition to contact periods, NCAA recruiting timelines also consist of “evaluation periods”, “quiet periods”,“dead periods”, and for some sports, “recruiting shutdowns”. You don’t need to worry about these too much, other than knowing that sometimes coaches may take a few days to respond because they are beholden by these additional restrictions throughout the year. The entire Division I and Division II NCAA Recruiting Calendars are broken down by sport here

What is a Contact Period? 

A contact period refers to a specific timeframe in which authorized athletics department members (like coaches) can have in-person, off-campus interactions with prospective student-athletes. This includes taking phone calls, and visiting a prospective student athlete’s school or attending one of their events for evaluation purposes.

It’s important to note there are restrictions around when NCAA programs can engage in these interactions. These restrictions are based on the program’s division, sport, and the prospective athlete’s age. Find more information about your sport’s specific contact period here.

What is an Evaluation Period? 

During an evaluation period, authorized athletics department staff members can assess prospective student-athletes' academic qualifications and playing ability through off-campus activities. However, they are not allowed to have in-person, off-campus recruiting contacts with the prospective student-athlete. All this means is that college coaches can watch the student-athlete compete but cannot have direct contact with them or their family during this period.

What is a Quiet Period? 

During a quiet period, recruiting contacts are allowed only in person on the college or university’s campus. So, you can participate in a school’s prospect camp hosted on their campus during a quiet period. However, any off-campus recruiting contacts or evaluations are not permitted during this time, meaning coaches may not contact you in person at a recruiting event off campus.

What is a Dead Period? 

During a dead period, in-person recruiting contacts and evaluations are explicitly not allowed, whether they occur on or off the college campus. Prospective student-athletes are also not permitted to make official or unofficial visits to the campus during this time. During a dead period, it’s important to note communication through email or phone with college coaches is still allowed, even though face-to-face interactions are specifically restricted during this period.

What is a Recruiting Shutdown? 

A recruiting shutdown means that no form of recruiting is permitted whatsoever. A recruiting shutdown does not happen in every sport across the NCAA, but it will happen at times throughout the year in sports such as women’s lacrosse, women’s basketball, swimming and diving, and baseball. During a recruiting shutdown, it will be best to focus on other aspects of your recruiting process, such as gathering new video for a highlight reel or updating your recruiting profile.

NCAA Coach Contact Rules

Contact Period
In-person contact Yes
In-person evaluation Yes
Call/text/email contact Yes
Evaluation Period
In-person contact No
In-person evaluation Yes
Call/text/email contact Yes
Quiet Period
In-person contact Only on their college campus
In-person evaluation Only on their college campus
Call/text/email contact Yes
Dead Period
In-person contact No
In-person evaluation No
Call/text/email contact Yes
Recruiting Shutdown
In-person contact No
In-person evaluation No
Call/text/email contact No

If you are looking to play sports at the NCAA Division I or Division II level, you should become more comfortable with understanding these different types of contact periods. 

What Can I Be Doing During the NCAA Contact Periods?

The contact periods are strictly for the college coach. While certain contact periods could limit your conversations or in-person interactions, it doesn’t mean you can’t be doing things behind the scenes. Below are some things to focus on during the different contact periods:

  • Update highlight reels and skills video. No matter what contact period a college coach is in they will still be able to evaluate video.
  • Re-evaluate your target list of schools. You must assess your list no matter where you are in your recruiting process. Remember to have good reach, fit, and safety schools academically and athletically. 
  • Catch up on messages.  A college coach may not be able to contact you at a certain time, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn't catch up on communication with coaches. Check out our article here to learn what to say to college coaches.
  • Update SportsRecruits Profile. Use this time to ensure your SportsRecruits profile is fully up-to-date with your academic and athletic information and video. 
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