Due to Division 1 sports increasing the amount of early recruiting, Division 1 softball made changes to fall ball recruiting, evaluation days, and noninstitutional camps. They seek to try to put an end to early recruitment for student-athletes. According to the NCAA, they want to promote the well-being of student-athletes and coaches to ensure competitive equality by defining certain time periods in which recruiting may or may not occur in a particular sport. Therefore, a rule change to the softball recruiting calendar can lead to substantial shifts in the recruiting game.
The biggest change comes with a removal of the 50-day limit evaluation. Under the new rules, a coach may recruit at any time within the evaluation period. They are now limited to an evaluation period, and cannot use recruiting days during a dead or quiet period. Additionally, the changes to fall-ball dates are restricted to Saturdays and Sundays in October and November. Evaluation time has been cut. From January 2 to May 28, 2018, coaches will not be able to evaluate student-athletes at non-scholastic practices or competitions.
Finally, noninstitutional camps will only be allowed during evaluation periods set on the calendar by the NCAA. Before this, coaches at the collegiate level would hold camps and workouts over the summer and winter breaks, but moving forward this will no longer be the case.
The NCAA is setting out to make these changes to decrease the stress and pressure of the college recruitment. Due to a conclusion drawn by D1 softball coaches, this will help with overuse, financial commitment, increasing time commitment, and the desire for coaches to have more time on campus with their team. These are the leading factors in the rule changes.
* Originally published on August 31, 2017, by Samantha Nemirov