National High School Coaches Association



This section provides information for student-athletes and coaches on recruiting rules and regulations. It includes links to convenient sport-specific calendars, as well as definitions of key recruiting-related terminology. Also included is a guide for student-athletes interested in transferring to another college or university.

Click Here to see the Recruiting Calendar

Recruiting Definitions

Contact | Contact Period | Dead Period | Evaluation | Official Visit | Prospective Student Athlete | Quiet Period | Unofficial Visit Verbal Committment | National Letter of Intent

A contact occurs any time a coach has any face-to-face contact with you or your parents off the college's campus and says more than hello. A contact also occurs if a coach has any contact with you or your parents at your high school or any location where you are competing or practicing.



Contact Period 
During this time, a college coach may have in-person contact with you and/or your parents on or off the college's campus. The coach may also watch you play or visit your high school. You and your parents may visit a college campus and the coach may write and telephone you during this period.


Dead Period  
The college coach may not have any in-person contact with you or your parents at any time in the dead period. The coach may write and telephone you or your parents during this time.


An evaluation is an activity by a coach to evaluate your academic or athletics ability. This would include visiting your high school or watching you practice or compete.
Evaluation Period - The college coach may watch you play or visit your high school, but cannot have any in-person conversations with you or your parents off the college's campus. You and your parents can visit a college campus during this period. A coach may write and telephone you or your parents during this time.


Official Visit 
Any visit to a college campus by you and your parents paid for by the college. The college may pay the following expenses: Your transportation to and from the college;  room and meals (three per day) while you are visiting the college; and reasonable entertainment expenses, including three complimentary admissions to a home athletics contest.

Before a college may invite you on an official visit, you will have to provide the college with a copy of your high school transcript (Division I only) and SAT, ACT or PLAN score and register with the NCAA Eligibility Center.


Prospective Student-Athlete
You become a “prospective student-athlete” when:  You start ninth-grade classes; or before your ninth-grade year, a college gives you, your relatives or your friends any financial aid or other benefits that the college does not provide to students generally.


Quiet Period 
The college coach may not have any in-person contact with you or your parents off the college's campus. The coach may not watch you play or visit your high school during this period. You and your parents may visit a college campus during this time. A coach may write or telephone you or your parents during this time.



Unofficial Visit 
Any visit by you and your parents to a college campus paid for by you or your parents. The only expense you may receive from the college is three complimentary admissions to a home athletics contest. You may make as many unofficial visits as you like and may take those visits at any time. The only time you cannot talk with a coach during an unofficial visit is during a dead period.


Verbal Commitment 
This phrase is used to describe a college-bound student-athlete's commitment to a school before he or she signs (or is able to sign) a National Letter of Intent. A college-bound student-athlete can announce a verbal commitment at any time. While verbal commitments have become very popular for both college-bound student-athletes and coaches, this "commitment" is NOT binding on either the college-bound student-athlete or the school. Only the signing of the National Letter of Intent accompanied by a financial aid agreement is binding on both parties.


National Letter of Intent
The National Letter of Intent (NLI) is a binding agreement between a prospective student-athlete and an institution in which the institution agrees to provide a prospective student-athlete who is admitted to the institution and is eligible for financial aid under NCAA rules athletics aid for one academic year in exchange for the prospective student-athlete's agreement to attend the institution for one academic year. 

All colleges and universities that participate in the NLI program agree to not recruit a prospective student-athlete once he or she signs an NLI with another college or university. Therefore, a prospective student-athlete who signs an NLI should no longer receive recruiting contacts and calls and is ensured an athletics scholarship for one academic year. The NLI must be accompanied by an institutional financial aid agreement. If the prospective student-athlete does not enroll at that institution for a full academic year, he or she may be subject to specific penalties, including loss of a season of eligibility and a mandatory residence requirement.

Please note that the NLI program is administered through the NCAA Eligibility Center office.  Specific questions regarding its application should be directed to the NLI office at 877/262-1492. 

Additional information can be obtained through the NLI program Web page at www.national-letter.org. Please contact the NCAA membership services staff at 317/917-6222 if you have further questions.

Breach of NLI by Student-Athlete Prior to Initial Enrollment, Practice and Competition in Order to Attend Another Institution If you sign an NLI, you are committed to attend that institution for your initial year of collegiate enrollment. If you do not attend the signing institution or attend that institution for less than one academic year and you enroll in another college that participates in the NLI program, there may be eligibility ramifications. The basic penalty may preclude you from representing the second college until you have completed one academic year in residence at the latter institution and you may lose one season of competition in all sports.

For further information, visit the NLI Web site (www.national-letter.org) or contact the NLI staff at:  

National Letter of Intent
P.O. Box 7132
Indianapolis, IN 46207-7132
Toll Free: (877) 262-1492 
(317) 223-0700


Colleges and universities in Division III place highest priority on the overall quality of the educational experience and on the successful completion of all students’ academic programs. They seek to establish and maintain an environment in which a student-athlete’s athletics activities are conducted as an integral part of the student-athlete’s educational experience, and in which coaches play a significant role as educators. They also seek to establish and maintain an environment that values cultural diversity and gender equity among their student-athletes and athletics staff. To achieve this end, Division III institutions:

Place special importance on the impact of athletics on the participants rather than on the spectators and place greater emphasis on the internal constituency (e.g., students, alumni, institutional personnel) than on the general public and its entertainment needs; Shall not award financial aid to any student on the basis of athletics leadership, ability, participation or performance; Encourage the development of sportsmanship and positive societal attitudes in all constituents, including student-athletes, coaches, administrative personnel and spectators; Encourage participation by maximizing the number and variety of athletics opportunities for their students;

Assure that the actions of coaches and administrators exhibit fairness, openness and honesty in their relationships with student-athletes; Assure that athletics participants are not treated differently from other members of the student body; Assure that athletics programs support the institution’s educational mission by financing, staffing and controlling the programs through the same general procedures as other departments of the institution. Further, the administration of an institution’s athletics program (e.g., hiring, compensation, professional development, certification of coaches) should be integrated into the campus culture and educational mission.

Assure that athletics recruitment complies with established institutional policies and procedures applicable to the admission process; Assure that academic performance of student-athletes is, at a minimum, consistent with that of the general student body; Assure that admission policies for student-athletes comply with policies and procedures applicable to the general student body; Provide equitable athletics opportunities for males and females and give equal emphasis to men’s and women’s sports; Support ethnic and gender diversity for all constituents.

Give primary emphasis to regional in-season competition and conference championships; and Support student-athletes in their efforts to reach high levels of athletics performance, which may include opportunities for participation in national championships, by providing all teams with adequate facilities, competent coaching and appropriate competitive opportunities.

The purpose of the NCAA is to assist its members in developing the basis for consistent, equitable competition while minimizing infringement on the freedom of individual institutions to determine their own special objectives and programs. The above statement articulates principles that represent a commitment to Division III membership and shall serve as a guide for the preparation of legislation by the division and for planning and implementation of programs by institutions and conferences.


Division III athletics offers student-athletes the opportunity to become well-rounded individuals who successfully integrate athletics and academics. Student-athletes are integrated into the student body, and they experience the full range of college life. Division III athletics departments place special importance on the impact of athletics on the participants rather than on the spectators. The student-athlete's experience is of paramount concern.

Division III athletics feature athletes who receive no financial aid related to their athletic skills and athletic departments that are staffed and funded like any other department in the university. Division III athletics encourages the development of sportsmanship and positive social attitudes. Coaches and players treat each other with respect, and administrators work to foster a positive competitive environment.

Division III athletics is committed to providing equitable athletics opportunities for both genders and gives equal emphasis to men's and women's sports.

Division III athletics encourages participation by maximizing the number and variety of athletics opportunities available to student-athletes, placing primary emphasis on regional in-season and conference competition.