April 23, 2018
|The note below is regarding the recent NCAA recruiting legislation proposed by the NFCA (National Fastpitch Coaches Association), and adopted last week by the NCAA Division I Council. This new legislation goes into effect on April 25th, 2018, effective immediately. For further details on this legislation and its exact wording and meaning, there are a number of articles, including this one from ESPN, and this one published by the NFCA.
As you may know, the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) proposed legislation changes that the NCAA Division I Council voted on this week aimed at slowing the pace and prevalence of early commitments. Under the new rules, coaches can no longer hold conversations specifically related to recruiting with student-athletes prior to September 1 of their junior year of high school. Headfirst celebrates this much needed-change and wholly supports the spirit of the new NCAA legislation. There is no question that early commitments have become a growing concern in softball – as well as many other NCAA-sponsored sports – and we are excited to see this productive change.
In response to the NCAA’s announcement, families have reached out inquiring how this will impact Headfirst Honor Roll Camps, as we do host rising 8th graders through rising seniors. Because these same recruiting changes were instituted in lacrosse two years ago, we have a very reliable blueprint and precedent for how the legislation will be interpreted and do not anticipate any major changes to our camp format, nor to the experience of attending student-athletes, regardless of class year.
While Division I coaches will be prohibited from pursuing specific recruiting conversations with underclassmen at the camp – such as offering scholarships or soliciting campus visits – they will still be able to coach, evaluate, instruct and engage with all athletes. Headfirst will still deliver all provided academic and additional information on student-athletes to the coaches in attendance – regardless of graduation year – and coaches across the NCAA Division I, II & III ladder will be at our events instructing, evaluating and identifying recruits of all grad years.
Based on the precedent established in the NCAA Lacrosse recruiting landscape after these same changes took effect, we expect “non-institutional camp events” like our Headfirst Honor Roll events to take on an even more critical role in the process as they will represent one of the few opportunities for coaches to meaningfully connect with athletes prior to September 1 of their junior year.
Due to the top-tier academic nature of the schools represented at Headfirst events, the recruiting process at these schools often occurs later than at others, because coaches and admissions departments need to see more complete academic information before pursuing direct recruiting conversations. This month’s NCAA changes codify across all schools what has already been in practice at high-academic programs – ultimately benefiting these programs and coaches, as well as the student-athletes pursuing the goal of continuing their playing career at these schools.
At Headfirst, we have always been firmly committed to helping student-athletes find a true, holistic match through the college process – which requires the opportunity and access to build personal relationships with coaches, evaluate program-fit for your goals of playing at the next level and gather the necessary information to put yourself in a position to succeed in recruiting-specific conversations when the time arrives. The camp experience at Headfirst equips young athletes with the tools and guidance necessary to hit the ground running as they enter that phase of the recruiting process.
If you have any further questions regarding the impact of the new legislation on our events or on your daughter’s recruiting process, please do not hesitate to reach out to us directly. We understand that NCAA legislation can be hard to interpret – particularly for families new to the process – and we remain committed to helping you and your student-athlete in this journey. We look forward to seeing you on the field in the months ahead.
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