New NCAA Rule Changes Recruiting

New NCAA Rule Changes Recruiting

by Steve Gamel

Amid concerns that area softball players are receiving college offers too early in their careers, a key piece of legislation was handed down in April by the NCAA that drastically impacts the recruiting game moving forward.

Per the NCCA Division I Council, the new rule establishes Sept. 1 of a student-athlete’s junior year as the first day any college recruiter or coach can contact a high school softball player. The changes do not affect the status of any athlete who has already verbally committed to a university but will go into effect immediately for those
who haven’t.

Furthermore, those who have committed early will not be allowed to have any additional contact with their future college coach until after Sept. 1 of their junior year, whether in person or through phone calls and campus visits.

“This is a great day for the sport of softball,” National Fastpitch Coaches Association executive director Carol Bruggeman said in a statement. “Early recruiting legislation has passed. I am so proud of the entire softball community for coming together to do what is best for the sport. Thank you to our coaches for being the driving force behind the change and to the NCAA for voting to pass this impactful legislation.

“The real winners are the softball prospective student-athletes, who can now make informed college decisions at an age-appropriate time.”

So why did this happen? The concern among many college and high school coaches was that highly-touted athletes were being offered college scholarships by major Division I programs way too early, some as early as their seventh and eighth-grade year. That’s a massive decision for a young athlete, and the process itself can be rather taxing when you factor in phone calls from coaches to players, off-campus visits for softball, official visits, unofficial visits, recruiting camps, etc.

Examples of early recruiting are everywhere. The Dallas Morning News pointed to The Colony’s star shortstop Jayda Coleman as part of its coverage of the new legislation. Coleman committed to Oklahoma as an eighth-grader, long before she became a first-team All-American and led the Lady Cougars to last year’s Class 5A state title. Other local talent that committed early and are perfect examples of how much this law will change things moving forward, per the Denton Record-Chronicle, include sophomore Abby Buettner (Maryland) from Denton Ryan, sophomores Laney (LSU) and Lexie Roos (Northwestern State) of Aubrey, and Denton freshman Kaylin Jackson (Louisiana Tech).

Guyer’s Ryan Gallegos (Louisiana-Monroe) and Morgan Medford (Tarleton), and Pilot Point’s Christine Billmeier (Sam Houston State) were also on mentioned by the DRC as young recruits.

As of press time, the new rule still needed to be approved by the NCAA Board of Directors, but all signs indicated that this change would be put into place. It gives kids the chance to enjoy their high school softball careers a little longer without having to worry about making bigger college decisions that will affect the rest of their lives.


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