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May 11, 2017

NCAA Lacrosse Recruiting Rule Changes

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The NCAA D1 Council has just passed a proposal that prohibits college coaches from contacting prospective student-athletes (PSAs) until September 1st of their Junior Year. This proposal was proposed after a joint campaign by the Intercollegiate Women’s and Men’s Lacrosse Coaches Associations, with the aim to curb the increasing trend of early recruiting by college coaches.

In the current state of lacrosse recruiting, student-athletes are verbally committing to play lacrosse in college as early as eighth grade. This atmosphere puts extra pressure on students and parents alike to join club teams and to attend as many tournaments, camps, and showcases as they possibly can. This additional pressure can also often lead to students turning to performance-enhancing drugs in order to keep up with their peers, or even leaving the sport after becoming discouraged with the lack of college interest. With the barring of contact until Junior year, PSAs have more time to develop physically and emotionally to make an informed decision about where to attend college. The later recruiting period will also allow for PSAs to branch out to other sports, as well as enable “late-bloomers” to catch up with their peers after they hit a growth spurt.

The rule change also will affect club coaches, who often act as third party “liaisons” between coaches and athletes. In the past, a club coach would receive contact from an interested coach, and then instruct his or her PSA to contact that coach. With the new environment club, team coaches will most likely play a more significant role in the recruiting process, as all information about PSAs will have to come directly from the coaches. 

Ultimately, this rule change is a positive step in the lacrosse world. Choosing a college to attend is likely the biggest decision a PSA will make at that point in their lives, and they are not mature enough to make such a decision at such a young age. Three extra years to develop physically, socially, and emotionally can make all the difference in the world. When asked about the new changes, IWLCA Division I Legislation Committee member Tracy Coyne responded, “I don’t think it will take long for this change to feel normal – it is how it used to be. Slowing down the recruiting process will bring back the enjoyment of playing the game for the right reasons.”

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Image Courtesy of: All Lax Stars