Lightning Baseball

NCAA Recruiting Change
Posted May 8, 2018

The NCAA recently announced (went into effect this week) a significant recruiting change in the sport of BASEBALL (it did not make the same changes for other sports such as Basketball, Football, etc. so please don’t confuse them).

Again, effective immediately, NCAA schools cannot contact potential student athletes until after SEPT 1 of their JR year.  Until that time, schools cannot have ANY recruiting discussions w/ student-athletes - even if the student contacts the school prior to SEPT 1 of their JR year.

Personally, I see this as a fantastic change being made by the NCAA.  Prior to this, student-athletes were being made scholarship offers in the 8th grade, or possibly earlier.  The thing about those offers is that they were never “binding”.  So schools could make as many of those offers as they desired with no consequences.  And unfortunately, most kids that accepted those offers, by verbally committing to those schools, would then figure they were set for the next several years and that often had a negative impact.  If the student-athlete was a dominant player by his SR year, the schools would honor their commitment.  If he was not, they would not.  Often, leaving the player in a difficult position.
Another positive change to this, is that historically kids could not get “official” visits (paid for by the school) until Sept 1 of their SR year.  However, kids were being asked to commit so much earlier, it was often all on the families to cover those costs.  With the new change, official visits can now occur after Sept 1 of their JR year.

We all know this is going to be hard to police by the NCAA, but it’s a step in the right direction.  It truly allows perspective student-athletes to avoid being in positions to make life altering decisions at the age of 14!  Now they can play, work hard, and have fun, without such significant influence on their performance, development and more.

Families can now commit to the development of their son, rather than worrying so much about “being seen”.  At the detriment of many, it’s become an environment over the past several years where the number one question asked by players, and parents, was “who will I be seen by…” or “who will see my son…”.  Rather than what level of competition will my son play? What kind of coaching will he get? Will he have any fun this summer?  Will his team practice?

Hurrah for the NCAA (of course, I’m not sure why they restricted this to baseball, since it happens much more in football)!  It’s a step in the right direction.  Next step would be to make schools honor the verbal commitments that they will be receiving as of SEPT 1 of student-athletes JR year.  Instead of making it a verbal commitment, let’s make it a written commitment.  Why wait until NOV of their SR year?!  But right now, let’s take this as a win for the student-athlete and their overall development.

Dave Tucker