For rising Juniors, NCAA rules changes mean more contact, more phone calls

In keeping with the times, the NCAA is changing the rules for recruiting "rising" juniors - which will mean a bit more recruiting activity in the year before a recruit is slated to come on campus.

The changes, most of which affect players in the 2014 recruiting class and beyond:

  • Beginning Friday, Division I men’s basketball coaches will be able to call or text message with recruits who have completed or are finishing up their sophomore year of high school. Coaches will be permitted to make unlimited calls and send unlimited text messages with recruits after June 15 following their sophomore year. The deregulation extends to social media, where private messages will be allowed. Public messages continue to be prohibited because of the rule preventing institutions from publicizing their recruiting efforts.

Quinn touched on this change in the past. And with the iphone burning, fast typing and talking Steve Lavin and Tony Chiles working the recruiting lines for St. John's, a few recruits will be sifting through pages and electronic pages of calls (and missed calls).

I pity the kids and parents with land lines.

The other NCAA recruiting changes include an intriguing change in official visits, which happened during a player's senior year in the past:

  • A start date for official visits beginning January 1 of the junior year, with schools able to pay travel expenses for the prospect and a parent/guardian.
  • Permitting some contact at a prospect’s educational institution during the junior year in conjunction with an evaluation, with some restrictions and requirements.

Many basketball outlets and pundits were in a tizzy over the 400+ player transfer list from most of the NCAA's 345 Division I schools, Many felt that the hurried communication between coaches and players was at fault, that players jumped into a scholarship with both feet without considering future playing time or personality styles.

Whatever the reason, it was felt that increased contact and communication would help players make better choices, and take power from "third parties" - AAU coaches are usually the named villains, but other go-betweens, friends, and even parents are connections that can get between the player and the coach.

Those late awkward recruiting fits - those times where a coach desperate to fill the roster brings in a developmental player who doesn't develop enough in two years - will still occur in programs across the country.

Having official visits start a year and a half before a player can land on campus is great for the players who can whittle their list to five suitors. But the player can't commit until October, so that leaves time for the same waffling and indecision we see from players. And coaches will push for players to burn an official visit earlier.

Allowing players to work out for coaches as a junior is a benefit for both parties; the restrictions and requirements aren't specified, so we'll see what the player-coach contact actually looks like.

Additionally:

  • The July period will be limited to three four-day periods beginning Wednesday at 5 p.m. and ending Sunday at 5 p.m.
  • The April period will be limited to certified events that begin after 6 p.m. on Friday and end before 4 p.m. on Sunday.

Those changes have been discussed, and the re-addition of the April period will help coaches evaluate and unearth players more accurately. Keeping the July period restrained was an issue for Division I coaches, who found themselves crisscrossing the country to babysit top targets while uncovering new ones; this schedule allows for breathers, evaluation, and a quick hello to the wives/ partners/ kids/ and pets.

What are your thoughts on the effect of these rules changes for players and coaches?

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