Starting on July 1st, high school athletes will be allowed to take unlimited official visits during their recruiting process, thanks to a recent rule change by the NCAA Division I Council. If you’re scratching your head regarding what an official visit even is, an official visit is when high school athletes take to colleges in the States that are actively recruiting them to physically visit the campus and get a better understanding of what the program has to offer. During official visits, the athlete and their family will often meet with coaches and academic advisors to discuss the school’s athletic and educational programs and how the student-athlete will potentially fit into them.
Before this new rule had been passed by the NCAA Division I Council, high school prospects were only allowed five official visits throughout their entire career, which severely narrowed the range and diversity of colleges that high school athletes could visit. The reason as to why students were only allowed five official visits was to limit the amount of time and resources that college programs would have to dedicate to recruiting. However, with the recent rule change, there is an increased opportunity for high school athletes to explore their options and find the best fit for their athletic and academic goals. The critical factor in prospective athletes having an unlimited amount of official visits is that they no longer have to worry about using up all of their visits far too early into the process and being left with options that they haven’t been able to aptly explore.
This recent policy change will also likely impact how college coaches choose to approach recruiting. Although there are more opportunities for athletes to visit numerous universities, this also means that coaches will have more visits to manage. They will have to be far more strategic about deciding which prospects to potentially bring on board as they will be met with an influx of talent each year, more so than they did when students were only allowed five official visits. Coaches will likely prioritise athletes they believe are more likely to commit to their program or fit their specific program’s needs. This is why if a prospective athlete is interested in a particular college program, they must do their due diligence before their visits and research as much as they possibly can about the college they intend to visit.
With more visits available, athletes may feel less rushed and take more time to decide. This could also impact the recruiting timeline and potentially lead to a later signing period. Furthermore, with prospects making more visits, universities will also need to be more patient as they will likely have to wait longer for commitments from recruits which will also work further to extend the recruiting timeline with prospects and coaches continually evaluating their options even after the traditional signing period has concluded.
Although it is up for debate whether or not just five official visits is superior to having unlimited ones for high school students, athletic, and academic programs, with just under two months until this new policy begins to occur, all we can do is speculate in regard to the impacts and changes it may cause within the American collegiate system. However, more college visits can only be positive for prospective athletes as they will now have free reign on how many schools they intend on visiting throughout the recruiting process, allowing them to make more informed decisions on which college program suits them best.
If you are interested in potentially making a few official visits yourself, please fill out our free consultation form, and we will book you in to evaluate your sports CV and grades to help us determine the appropriate college level for you!