by Katie Charles
As with everyone in the current climate of COVID-19, the NCAA has been doing its best to keep up with changes in protocol and potential roadblocks with athletics in the future. They are taking and following recommendations from membership institutions in an attempt to level the playing field between schools and alleviate the pressures on institutions and programs until more clarity about the upcoming academic year is available.
A majority of the changes affect only Division I member institutions. Division II has been following their lead, but with lighter restrictions. Division III, NAIA, and NJCAA schools are not, technically, under additional restrictions, but they have been observing the same restrictions as Division I.
The biggest changes come to the recruiting calendars. As of May, the NCAA Division I has instituted a “dead period” to extend through July 31st. A dead period means that coaches cannot leave campus to contact or evaluate athletes. There will be no DI college coaches attending recruiting events, even if they do occur. It also means no on-campus official or unofficial visits, camps, or contact with Potential Student Athletes (PSAs). Division II has decided on a “quiet period” to extend through June 30th. That allows for students to visit campus and for schools to hold camps for PSAs, but restricts coaches from leaving campus to recruit.
The other major change from the NCAA has to do with allowable contacts. June 15th is a big day for most sports, as it marks the day the Division I and II schools can begin phone and email conversations with 2022 PSAs. At this point, the NCAA has made no moves to change that date, but they have extended the definition of contacts to allow for additional types of conversations to happen. In addition to phone calls, text messages, and emails, the NCAA has made allowances for expanded communication options, including allowing multiple coaches on a video call with athletes, allowing coaches to have multiple PSAs on a video call, allowing current team members to be on video calls with PSAs, and allowing PSAs to sit in on a team video call (but cannot participate). These are all new and/or extensions of existing rules.
There will, undoubtedly, be additional updates and changes throughout the summer. The NCAA is set to revisit their current protocols at the end of June and will announce additional changes over the next two months.