Division I and Division II baseball programs wishing to recruit talented high school baseball players first have a bigger obstacle to overcome: learning the rules. The NCAA manual for recruiting and amateurism is nearly 500 pages long. Fortunately, there are several helpful quick reference resources at their disposal to dumb it down for them (and us). However, understanding the rules regarding college baseball recruiting can be simplified: who can be contacted; when they can be contacted; how they can be contacted; and how often they can be contacted.
According to NCAA rules, college baseball coaches in Division I and II may begin recruiting a prospective athlete after he begins high school as a freshman. However, during a prospect's first two years of high school, coaches are limited in the type of recruiting they may do. For instance, coaches may send only questionnaires and generic brochures to a prospect via U.S. mail. Further, high school freshmen and sophomores may not be contacted by phone, email or any other method of communication.
NCAA baseball coaches are allowed to recruit by mail (though personalized or hand-written letters are not allowed until Sept. 1 of a prospect's junior season), fax, email, telephone and in person. Text messaging was banned by the NCAA in 2007. Phone calls may be made to a prospect once per week following July 1 of a prospect's junior season (June 15 for Division II). Emails and faxes count toward the limit of one phone call. However, prospects may call or email a coach as many times as they wish.
The NCAA has four basic types of periods through the calendar year: Contact Period, Evaluation Period, Quiet Period and Dead Period. Coaches may host a prospect on campus during all but Dead Periods. They may evaluate a prospect during a contest in a Contact or Evaluation Period. Only during the Contact Period is off-campus contact allowed. Coaches are limited to no more than three contacts of a prospect during the year--with no more than seven contacts and evaluations combined (this limit does not apply to Division II). For purposes of the definition of "contact," it is described as any off-campus meeting where more than a "hello" is exchanged.
In baseball, Contact Periods exist March through October, with only a few exceptions. From November to February, coaches are usually in a Quiet or Dead Period. While coaches are not limited by the number of prospects they recruit, they are able to sign a select few for scholarships. Programs at the Division I level are limited to 11.7 scholarships; Division II schools are limited to nine. These scholarships can be given in full or as partial awards.
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