Prospective Student-Athlete: When a student enters ninth grade. It also applies when, before a student's ninth-grade year, a college gives the student, the student's relatives or their friends any financial aid or other benefits that the college does not generally provide to prospective students.
Contact: When a coach has any face-to-face contact with a prospective student-athlete or the prospect's parents off the college's campus and says more than hello. A contact also occurs if a coach has any contact with the prospective student-athlete or his or her parents at the prospective student-athlete's high school or any location where the prospect is engaging in competition or practice.
Evaluation: An activity by a coach to evaluate a prospective student-athlete's academic or athletics ability. This would include visiting the prospective student-athlete's high school or watching the prospect practice or compete.
Quiet Period: The college coach may not have any in-person contact with you or your parents off the college's campus. The coach cannot watch you play or visit your high school during this period.
Contact Period: The college coach can talk to you or your family on or off campus, and can watch you play.
Dead Period: The college coach cannot have any in-person contact with you. However, the coach can write you or call you on the phone.
Evaluation Period: The college coach can watch you play or visit your high school, but can't talk to you off the college's campus.
Visiting a School
Official Visit: A prospective student-athlete's visit to a college campus paid for by the college. The college can pay for transportation to and from the college, room and meals (three per day) while visiting and reasonable entertainment expenses, including three complimentary admissions to a home athletics contest. NCAA recruiting bylaws limit the number of official visits a recruit may take to five.
Unofficial Visit: Any visit by a prospective student-athlete and their parents to a college campus paid for by the prospective student-athlete or the prospect's parents. The only expense the prospective student-athlete can receive from the college is three complimentary admissions to a home athletics contest. The prospect may make as many visits as he or she likes and may take the visits at any time. The only time the prospective student-athlete cannot talk with a coach during an unofficial visit is during a dead period
Picking a School
Verbal Commitment: A college-bound student-athlete's commitment to a school before he or she is able to sign a National Letter of Intent. A college-bound student-athlete can announce a verbal commitment at any time. Verbal commitments are popular, but they are not binding to either the student-athlete or the school.
National Letter of Intent: The document a prospective student-athlete signs when he or she agrees to attend the designated college or university for one academic year. According to the terms of the program, participating institutions agree to provide athletics financial aid for one academic year to the student-athlete, provided he or she is admitted to the institution and is eligible for financial aid under NCAA rules. An important provision of the National Letter of Intent program is a recruiting prohibition applied after a prospective student-athlete signs a National Letter of Intent. This prohibition requires participating institutions to cease recruitment of a prospective student-athlete once a a National Letter of Intent is signed with another school.
Blue Chip: Blue chip refers to a highly sought after student-athlete; usually a student-athlete who is among the top players in his/her position coming out of high school.
Calendars: Coaches and their associates are restricted to certain times during the year when they can contact players, and in what way this contact is made. Calendar dates include contact periods, dead periods, evaluation periods and quiet periods.
Camps: There are two types of camps: instructional and showcase. Instructional camps are 3-8 week sessions where players undergo intensive training on improving their game. Showcase camps are usually held by universities where prospective recruits display their athletic abilities to coaches as part of the recruiting process.
Clearinghouse: Formerly known as the NCAA Initial-Eligibility Clearinghouse, the NCAA Eligibility Center is the first step in the recruitment process. The Eligibility Center handles all inquiries regarding an individual's initial-eligibility status. The Eligibility Center also maintains and processes all of the initial eligibility certifications.
Combines: Combines are a camp or clinic where players perform various physical exercises to rate their physical fitness. Scores from combine tests are sent to football programs for evaluating the player as a prospective recruit. Combines as a measuring tool are growing in popularity and effectiveness in the recruiting process.
Commitment: An oral or verbal commit is a non-binding agreement between a student-athlete and prospective school. While it is tentatively understood that the student-athlete will accept the scholarship offer and attend the school, he/she is free to explore offers with other institutions until a letter of commitment has been signed.
Contact: Contact includes face-to-face interaction between a college coach and a prospective student-athlete or his/her parents.
Contact period: The contact period is the time designated in the recruiting calendar when college coaches may make in-person, off-campus recruiting contacts and evaluations.
Dead period: The dead period is the time designated in the recruiting calendar when college coaches are restricted from making in-person, off-campus recruiting contacts and evaluations.
Evaluation: An evaluation is when a prospective coach or recruiting agent assesses a student-athlete’s academic or athletics ability. Evaluations usually involve a coach or recruiter observing a game or practice.
Evaluation period: The evaluation period is the time designated in the recruiting calendar when college coaches and authorized staff are permitted to make off-campus evaluations of a prospective student-athlete’s academic and playing abilities. Evaluations usually involve a coach or recruiter observing a game or practice. In-person, off-campus recruiting contact during evaluations is prohibited.