NCAA Moves Up Hockey Recruiting Dates

Prospective players can now look forward to more contact from college coaches after a recent rule change by the NCAA.  The new contact legislation modifies regulations defining when and how often coaches can reach out to recruits.  Before the changes, coaches could not reach out and contact a player until June 15 in their sophomore year of high school. The revised rule changes make it so the first date of contact is now January 1st. In addition, the former once-a-month rule on contacting a student has been eliminated, so now contact is unrestricted for phone calls, emails, text messages, Facebook, Twitter and other social media messages.

The previous rules stated that coaches could not contact a player before the draft, which did allow some Canadian major junior teams to squeeze in before the colleges could even talk to a prospective recruit. So the rule change is especially pertinent to the Canadian Hockey League’s major junior divisions as it now can allow coaches access to players before those leagues’ drafts. Many college coaches agree that this change has major implications because they can now talk with players before some of the larger junior drafts.  Coaches can now contact prospective players before the Ontario Hockey League and Quebec Major Junior Hockey League drafts.

The NCAA report went on to clarify “This should help more and more talented young players understand their options prior to making a decision that could jeopardize their NCAA eligibility.” The new change also makes it so college hockey teams can more easily communicate and keep a close watch on committed players as well. A majority of young hockey players tend to commit to college programs just before their junior year in high school, and many coaches had complained that adhering to the once-a-month rule was very difficult, whereas now they can send a congratulatory text after things like a great match.  Players still have to initiate contact when communicating with programs they are considering.

Though the rule change is a great step forward, the Western Hockey League‘s Bantam Draft is held before the January 1st date, so the change in rules would not impact that league. Contact and prospective visits that players can have with a coach or school is still limited, and the first date for off-campus visits between players and coaches remains June 15.  Click here to read the full NCAA change.

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