For many in the Class of 2020, Sept. 1 marked the beginning of the athletic recruiting season, and brought with it a frenzy of activity. Unlike in previous years, when student-athletes were able to talk with coaches and make verbal commitments whenever they felt ready, college coaches must now wait until Sept. 1 of a prospective recruit’s junior year to reach out to him or her.
The Class of 2020 is the first class of high school students for which the legislation plays a pivotal role in the recruiting process. When the legislation was put in place in April of 2017, most of the prospective Division I student athletes in Class of 2019 had already made verbal commitments. However, with only a minority of prospective student-athletes in the Class of 2020 holding verbal commitments at that time, the legislation had a much broader impact on the Class of 2020. As these students were no longer able to communicate with their recruiting coaches, this left the possibility of being dropped as a recruit.
With this new change, leading up to Sept. 1, the only material college coaches could send to prospective student-athletes was a questionnaire and an invitation to prospect camp. College coaches could also contact high school and club coaches before this date, but only to indicate whether or not they had interest in a specific athlete.
This recruiting legislation, a relatively new change in the NCAA recruiting process, has begun to influence the decisions of students of the Class of 2019 and beyond.
Describing the mission of the change, the NCAA stated on their website, “The new recruiting model allows potential student-athletes more time to make thoughtful decisions about their next steps after high school.”
Many hoped that this delayed recruitment date would provide more time for students to think about where they wanted to attend college and allow them to pursue their academic interests without distraction.
Bailey Cheetham ’19, a lacrosse player, commented, “The rule change was a benefit in disguise for the athlete, especially for me. It allowed me to focus more on my academics and playing more than one sport throughout my high school career.”
While prospective student-athletes in the Class of 2020 now begin to decide where they want to pursue the next four years of their education, they do so under an incredible amount of stress. Having to manage the workload of junior year, keep in constant contact with college coaches to schedule phone calls and visits, and train at a high level, student-athletes are aware that the next few months will be no easy task.
However, to the future classes of athletic recruitment, this new transformation will hopefully allow Deerfield students to make more thoughtful decisions regarding their college decisions and continue to focus on the amazing academic opportunities the Academy has to offer.