The NCAA supports student-athlete well-being by promoting a fair recruiting environment that limits intrusions into the lives of student-athletes and their families.
Recruiting happens when a college employee or representative invites a high school student-athlete to play sports for their college. Recruiting can occur in many ways, such as face-to-face contact, phone calls or text messaging, through mailed or emailed material or through social media.
View a list of recruiting calendars for individual sports.
View a list of recruiting terms and related FAQs
A contact happens any time a college coach says more than hello during a face-to-face meeting with a college-bound student-athlete or his or her parents off the college’s campus.
An evaluation happens when a college coach observes a student-athlete practicing or competing.
A verbal commitment happens when a college-bound student-athlete verbally agrees to play sports for a college before he or she signs or is eligible to sign a National Letter of Intent. The commitment is not binding on the student-athlete or the school and can be made at any time.
When a student-athlete officially commits to attend a Division I or II college, he or she signs a National Letter of Intent, agreeing to attend that school for one academic year.
Any visit to a college campus by a college-bound student-athlete or his or her parents paid for by the college is an official visit. Visits paid for by student-athletes or their parents are considered unofficial visits.
During an official visit the college can pay for transportation to and from the college for the student-athlete, lodging and three meals per day for the student-athlete and his or her parents or guardians, as well as reasonable entertainment expenses including three tickets to a home sports event.
The only expenses a college-bound student-athlete may receive from a college during an unofficial visit are three tickets to a home sports event.
National Letter of Intent
A National Letter of Intent is signed by a college-bound student-athlete agreeing to attend a Division I or II college for one academic year. Participating colleges agree to provide financial aid for one academic year to the student-athlete as long as the student-athlete is admitted to the school and is eligible for financial aid under NCAA rules. Other forms of financial aid do not guarantee the student-athlete financial aid.
The National Letter of Intent is voluntary and not required for a student-athlete to receive financial aid or participate in sports.
Signing a National Letter of Intent ends the recruiting process because participating schools are prohibited from recruiting student-athletes who have already signed letters with other participating schools.
A student-athlete who signs a National Letter of Intent but decides to attend another college may request a release from his or her contract with the school. If a student-athlete signs a National Letter of Intent with one school but attends a different school, he or she loses one full year of eligibility and must complete a full academic year at the new school before being eligible to compete.