When I look at the NCAA restrictions, I’m very confused how a sophomore can commit to a team when the coach isn’t even allowed to call him until July 1st of your junior year. How can a player decide when he can’t take an official visit until his senior year?
Thank you very much! Great question. Beginning on the first day of their senior year of high school, prospective recruits are allowed a total of five official visits, limited to only one per university. However, such restrictions are not placed on unofficial visits, or visits which are done at the expense of the player and not the university. The player is allowed unlimited unofficial visits and can take them at any time. Regarding the contact between the college coach and potential recruits, the July 1 restriction more or less applies to direct off-campus contact such as phone calls, text messages, etc. This does not mean that college coaches are not in constant contact with players prior to this period, they just typically do so through the player’s high school or travel coach. For example, a coach can set up an unofficial visit through the player’s high school coach, and then once the player is on campus, contact between the two is permissible.
The most important distinction to make here however is that here we are discussing verbal commitments and not the signing of a Letter of Intent. With verbal commitments, the player is freely permitted to, and often does, change their mind and choose a different university later on in their high school careers.
A great example of this in action is the college baseball camp. While the college coaches would not be able to otherwise contact underclassmen, because the players are coming on campus and are participating in a ‘camp,’ the coaches are allowed to interact with and evaluate players. This is why camps can be a great way to get noticed by college coaches, especially earlier in your high school career.