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Organizational Recruiting Statement

By Kevin Blaskowski, 05/06/18, 10:15PM CDT


Coaches, Parents and Players,

We have all been inundated with phone calls, emails and text messages regarding the most recent NCAA recruiting rules for softball. We also would be willing to guess that you have unanswered questions, have heard conflicting information, and in some cases are not completely sure what these rules changes mean. We understand the need for information and it is our goal to provide that to you as quickly as possible.  We have read the rules, spoke with coaches, and talked with other organizations and we are providing the following information for our teams and players: Breakdown of the rules, what it means to you, and next steps per graduating class

1.  Breakdown of the Rules

On Wednesday, April 18, 2018 the NCAA Division 1 Council announced that it passed legislation establishing September 1 of a Prospective Student Athlete’s (PSA) junior year as the start date of ALL softball recruiting contact, EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY, pending NCAA Board of Directors approval (which was complete on April 25, 2018).

2.  What does this mean to you?

Starting April 25, 2018, all PSA’s must wait until September 1 of their Junior year before they start ANY recruiting contact (in person, on the phone, or through a travel ball or high school coach) with any college or institution.

This rule only applies to NCAA D1 College Softball Coaches & Programs – this rule does not affect D2, D3, JUCO, or NAIA programs.

“EVALUATIONS” – A coach is still allowed to evaluate a PSA prior to their junior year, they just CANNOT make contact with the PSA or the travel ball or high school coach.

Excerpt from NCAA guidelines:

The rule is intended to push back when offers are made. This rule is not intended to delay the evaluation process. They can evaluate as specified per the Division I recruiting calendar. They can ask travel ball coaches and high school coaches their opinion on a PSA’s skill set.

They can listen as coaches describe her character, academic interests and family dynamics.
a.  The evaluation is one-way: from the travel ball/high school coach → to the college coach.
b.  The evaluation is NOT: from the college coach → to the travel ball/high school coach

  1. What a Coach CAN Say
    Give a simple indication of their interest:
      YES, we are interested in her
      NO, we are not interested in her

  2. What a Coach CANNOT say
    Examples of impermissible DI college coach evaluations:
      “Typically for a player with her skill set we offer $x as a scholarship.”
      “She is a gifted player. She is our first choice in a recruit for her graduating year.”
      “She is a power hitter…quick base runner…[whatever].

     They cannot provide any substantive comments on a PSA’s ability.
       “Yes, we are VERY interested.” “She is on the top of our A list.”
     They cannot use adverbs or adjectives or descriptive phrases.
      “We will make her an offer on September 1.”
      “We see her as a….role player, starter, or any other description on how she would fit in their team.”
    As a general rule, they can receive as much information as they would like, but they cannot signal where a PSA is/will be on their list or their intent to pursue a PSA outside of the simple interest indication: YES or NO

“UNOFFICIAL VISITS” – There CANNOT be any UNOFFICIAL VISITS or ON-CAMPUS CAMP TOURS until September 1 of a PSA’s Junior year.  You can setup academic tours through the university at any time but they will not show you athletic facilities or let you visit w/ coaches.

You also CANNOT be put on a “Pass list” for any complimentary admissions at any athletic event prior to Sept 1 of your Junior year.  

“PHONE CALLS, TEXTS, & EMAILS” – There CANNOT be any contact with a PSA prior to Sept 1 of their Junior year including phone calls, texts, or emails.  A college coach is not allowed to respond to any message from a PSA prior to their junior year.  So if you call them, they are required to ask how old you are and inform you that they CANNOT speak to you till Sept 1 of your junior year, so please DO NOT call them until then.  If you text them or email them, they will not respond.

“CAMPS” – There CANNOT be any recruiting contact with a PSA prior to Sept 1 of their Junior year even at ON-CAMPUS or OFF-

CAMPUS CAMPS.  A college coach may work the camps and may instruct but that is it

Excerpt from NCAA guidelines:

  1. Camps are by definition instructional and are NOT PERMITTED to be used for the purpose of having recruiting conversations. In addition to instruction, camps may include:
  2. Evaluations (when offered to every camp participant or on a for purchase option.
    • A generic campus tour as part of your camp and offered to everyone at the camp
    • Coaches may also give general, non-institution specific recruiting information session
  3. Coaches may NOT do any of the following at a camp:
    • Tell a PSA “how she would fit into their program”
    • Speculate as to “what type of scholarship offer a PSA would receive from them”
    • Explain what a PSA needs to work on to specifically be recruited by them
    • Engage in any form of recruiting conversation, unless it is past September 1 of the PSA’s junior year

“VERBALLED PSA’S” – There CANNOT be any recruiting contact with a PSA prior to Sept 1 of their Junior year even if they are already verbally committed to the institution.  That includes phone calls, emails, or texts.  They can instruct you at camps but they CANNOT discuss any recruiting information including: 
   • Congratulating her on an achievement
   • Wishing her good luck on an upcoming test
   • Offering support due to a recent family tragedy
   • Telling her about your next camp
   • Finding out how her team did last weekend

“COACHING CHANGES” – If a coaching change happens at a campus and you are already verballed, you CANNOT contact the coach and they CANNOT contact you until Sept 1 of your Junior year.  This means you will wait till your Junior year to find out if the verbal offer still stands.  The coach can tell a travel ball coach or high school coach that they are interested, but that is it.

3.  Athletes - so what are your next Steps?

  1. Emails – Yes, you should still be emailing coaches
  2. Camps – Yes, you should still be attending camps, but be more realistic in your abilities and attend camps that fit your skills, career choices, etc.
  3. National Tournaments – Yes, you should still be going to national tournaments.  Going to National tournaments has very little to do w/ recruiting exposure and more to do with playing the very best to make you a better player and that will never change.
  4. Verbally Committed Players – You should be concentrating on getting better at your craft and becoming the best player you can be and you should also pay close attention to how the program is doing and if you see a potential coaching change.

2018 & 2019 Class– By this time, you should be on some college’s radar and you should be pushing to close the deal.  If you are not on some college’s radar, then you need to be considering JUCO’s, NAIA, D3 schools that you can get into and make a roster.

2020 Class– You should be on a very aggressive email campaign to make sure that coaches know who you are and you should be attending camps of programs that need your specific skill set.  Your team should be attending showcases and national tournaments to get you noticed.

2021 Class– You should be on an aggressive email campaign to get your name out there to all coaches (D1, D2, & D3). You should be touring campuses to figure out what type of campus you like (rural or suburban, little or big).  You should be narrowing your focus on what schools have needs at your position and which schools you are a fit with both academically and athletically.  Your team should be attending national tournaments and facing the very best competition you can compete with and show well.

2022 Class and below– You should be identifying colleges that fit your personality and academic needs, emailing the coaches occasionally and then you should be spending your time getting better at softball and that includes attending camps to get better.

As an organization, we will be working very hard to provide college coaches with information about our athletes.  We will be doing all we can to provide pertinent information to assist in the recruiting process.

Thank you for your commitment to this organization and If you have any questions please do not hesitate to reach out.


Kevin Blaskowski
National Director
American Freedom Express