Ivy League Proposes New NCAA Rules to Curtail Early Recruiting of Athletes

Eighth-graders verbally committing to a college powerhouse? Middle-schoolers making calls to Division I coaches?

This is a reality in many NCAA sports. And the Ivy League is hoping to put an end to it for good, according to a report by Inside Hired Ed's Jake New

The conference is proposing an update to the NCAA rules that would prevent contact between college coaches and athletes until their junior year in high school. There are currently rules on the books to curtail early recruiting, but they seem to be easily dodged. 

Under these proposed rules, verbal commitments would be disallowed until the prospective athlete's junior year, because recruiters would not be able to verbally offer any promises of financial aid until then. Also, coaches would be prohibited calling or receiving calls from recruits, planning unofficial visits and having conversations about recruiting with athletes at camps and clinics until the beginning of the athletes' junior year.

All of these things are happening currently across the country due to loopholes in the current rule set.

This proposal will be considered by NCAA membership in January.

"We're trying to close those loopholes," Robin Harris, executive director of Ivy League, told Inside Higher Ed.
The current culture is putting more and more pressure on prospective athletes to commit, because they're talking to coaches and making unofficial visits earlier and earlier. You think about freshmen and sophomores and how much they still have to grow, physically, athletically, academically, emotionally, and our concern is that prospects are making decisions they come to regret.
Harris hopes times have changed and the current climate would allow for more listening to these legitimate issues.

"We expect there to be some negative reactions to our proposals, too," Harris said. "But our goal is twofold. We want to change the rules to change the culture, but we also want to at least push the NCAA to have these discussions. We've been trying for several years. We think the time is right."

Harris and the Ivy League are not the first to try to shine some light on this issue. Sue Enquist, the legendary former coach of the UCLA softball team, told FloSoftball in a recent interview that there are softball athletes committing to multiple schools and coaches offering the same scholarship to three or four different recruits.

Enquist is proposing a digital dashboard where verbal commitments are "open, honest and transparent."

"When a college coach isn't being held accountable to what they're offering, your softball society can run out of control," Enquist said. "Because there's no accountability."

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