Division I Council Extends Recruiting Dead Period through May 31

by USA Field Hockey

Content Courtesy of NCAA

Image Courtesy of 
Tim Cowie/Tim Cowie Photography, Appalachian State Athletics

The Division I Council extended the recruiting dead period for all sports through May 31, continuing the ban on in-person recruiting activities that began when the pandemic hit last spring. As part of the vote, members also committed to providing clarity on plans for the transition back to recruiting calendars, including potential modifications for the return to in-person recruiting activity, no later than April 15. The Council met virtually Wednesday.

The Division I Football, Men’s Basketball and Women’s Basketball Oversight Committees and Division I Legislative Committee recommended the extension through May due to continued COVID-19 pandemic uncertainty and concern regarding in-person interaction among recruits and their families, current student-athletes and school staff. Members noted that many schools in different areas of the country still do not allow in-person visits of any prospective students, including potential student-athletes, while others are conducting campus tours that can’t involve athletics.

“After careful consideration of all available information, the Council agreed that an extension of the dead period through May 31 was necessary,” said Council chair M. Grace Calhoun, athletics director at Pennsylvania. “However, there is a strong commitment to use the next several weeks to outline the transition plan back to recruiting activities post June 1 and to provide those plans to prospective student-athletes, their families and the NCAA membership no later than April 15.”

The Division I Student-Athlete Advisory Committee also supported an extension of the dead period, noting a need to both provide prospective student-athletes and their families immediate guidance and also prioritize the health and safety of student-athletes who still will be competing in their spring sport seasons at that time.

“While we support the dead period extension, we also note the importance of providing prospective student-athletes immediate guidance on the future of the dead period,” said SAAC co-chair Justice Littrell.

Several Council members noted the importance of summer camps and clinics for both coaches and prospective student-athletes and expressed that returning to recruiting activities prior to June 1 could jeopardize the opportunity for coaches and recruits to engage in summer activities like certified non-scholastic events.

Council members also provided a blanket waiver that increased the number of hours football teams can spend on countable, athletically related, out-of-season activities this spring from eight to 10 hours per week. The 10 hours may include:

  • Up to four hours per week for meetings/film review
  • Up to two hours per week for walk-throughs
  • No more than six hours of physical activities (weight training/conditioning).

All activities will be non-contact. The waiver does not change the existing requirement that student-athletes have two days off per week.

The waiver is effective February 22.

The Council also adopted a proposal that narrows the definition of an individual associated with a prospect in bowl subdivision football and men’s and women’s basketball. The proposal was tabled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Council members think the base rule, aimed at preventing schools from hiring people in a prospective student-athlete’s life in order to gain a recruiting advantage, has had the unintended consequence of preventing coaches and non-coaching staff members from career advancement at different schools. The change will be effective February 24 if Division I Board of Directors members do not object.

Council members declined to provide at this time a blanket waiver that would have extended the seasons of competition and period of eligibility for freshman spring sport student-athletes, noting that significant changes to spring sport seasons have not occurred yet. The Council noted that the existing waiver standards and process remain the appropriate way to consider relief for spring sport student-athletes. However, the Council agreed to continue to monitor the issues related to the season and the pandemic. If warranted, appropriate actions could be taken later.