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Attention softball coaches and student-athletes, the NCAA Waiver issued on 8/24 does NOT apply to softball. Please click on the below button for a Letter to Division I coaches regarding this issue.

Softball Recruiting Contact Date; September 1, Junior Year

On Wednesday, April 18, 2018, the NCAA Division I Council announced that it passed legislation establishing September 1 of a prospective student-athlete’s (“PSA’s”) junior year as the start date for all softball recruiting contact, effective immediately, pending NCAA Board of Directors approval.  

This means that all recruiting communications between Division I softball coaches and PSAs and their families will be impermissible prior to September 1 of the Junior Year (full release)

As a reminder, NCAA Division I Coaches are also bound by a recruiting calendar. While the legislation may permit contact after 9/1 of the Junior Year, certain calendar segments may still be restricted by evaluation periods, quiet periods, and/or dead periods. Please consider the calendar as well as the legislation.

Early Recruiting video

The NFCA recognizes and supports the stance that our membership has taken on the epidemic of early recruiting in collegiate softball. During the 2017 National Convention, Division I Membership began taking steps to proactively address the current state of early recruiting through the NCAA legislation process.

Understanding the Rules

Recruiting contact is governed by NCAA legislation. In this snapshot, you will see a comparison of what the rules are now, what the NCAA Student Athlete Experience Committee has proposed and what lacrosse passed last spring. DI softball coaches have voted over 80% in favor of making the September 1 of junior year start date for ALL recruiting contact. The NFCA has asked that softball be included in the lacrosse legislation. See this snapshot for a comparison of the models and rules for recruiting contact.

According to NCAA Research

  • 43% of Division I softball student-athletes had direct or indirect contact with a collegiate coach for recruiting purposes on or before the 9th grade.
  • Softball leads all Division I sports in the number of student-athletes who commit to a college in or before 9th grade.
  • Nearly 40% of all Division I commitments are occurring prior to or during the 10th grade.
  • Student-athletes who commit prior to 11th grade are less likely to be enrolled where they committed.
  • Those who commit prior to 11th grade are also more likely to have had a coach leave prior to their enrollment and to have experienced a change in their scholarship offer.
  • 38% of softball student-athletes who made a verbal commitment prior to or during their sophomore year of high school are not enrolled at that institution.
  • 42% of student-athletes who make a commitment prior to or during the 10th grade report the head coach the committed to left prior to their enrollment
  • Nearly half of Division I softball athletes received a scholarship offer during or prior to the 10th grade.
  • A staggering 60% of student-athletes had “no idea” of an academic major at their time of commitment. 
Today's Landscape

While the above statistics from the NCAA were released this fall, the data was collected from current collegiate student-athletes, many of whom are more than five years past their commitment date. As most coaches and softball personnel are aware, the early recruiting trend has continued to become earlier over that same time span.

How can I help?

There are many ways that you can join the NFCA in slowing down the recruiting process. Please forward this page as well as the educational documents found here to those who are affected by early recruiting and sign the petition. If you would like more information contact Joanna Lane, NFCA Director of Education or 502-409-4600.

Early Recruiting in the News

Pair of local softball players plot college careers before ever pitching in high school game (Ryan O'Leary - Daily Journal)

Committee supports revised recruiting calendar (Amy Wimmer Schwarb -

NCAA DI softball coaches propose no recruiting contact until junior year; see what Dallas-area coaches say about that (Gregg Riddle - Dallas Morning News)

Softball players get college offers as early as middle school (

NCAA Research Shows Pervasiveness of Early Recruiting -- Especially Of Female Athletes (Forbes)

The Pros of Putting and End to Early Recruiting (Fastpitch News)

Getting a college offer at 10—the effects of early recruiting on youth (USA Today High School Sports)

NCAA Passes Lacrosse Early Recruiting Proposal, Effective Immediately (IWLCA)

It’s Time for the NCAA to Stop the Early Recruiting Insanity (Changing the Game Project)

Coaches take aim at heartache and hardship of early recruiting (ESPNW)

Coaches’ New Overture: Limit Early Recruiting (NY Times)

Committing to Play for a College, Then Starting 9th Grade (NY Times)



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