NCAA Division III Rule Changes

While all of the media attention on the recent NCAA Convention centered around rule changes regarding scholarships for Division I athletes, the following rule changes were also approved at the Convention which will effect recruiting by Division III colleges:

  1. Effective for current high school sophomores, Division III coaches will be permitted to have off-campus contact with high school prospects after they have completed their sophomore year.
  2. Division III institutions that offer official visits will be permitted to offer official visits to prospects as early as January 1 of the junior year of high school. This rule change will become effective on August 1 of 2015, so current high school juniors will not be able to make an official visit to a Division III college until the first day of their senior year of high school next Fall, but next year’s juniors will be able to make an official visit as early as January 1, 2016.
  3. Also, the NCAA Division III membership voted to approve the use of a “non-binding standardized celebratory form” which can be signed by a prospect after the prospect has been accepted to a Division III institution.  While the use of the form will be optional, only a standardized form provided by the NCAA will be permissible for a “signing ceremony.”

The “non-binding celebratory form” was recommended and approved because of the increasing popularity of signing ceremonies at high schools when prospects sign a National Letter of Intent or athletic scholarship agreement with an NCAA Division I or II university on the NLI “signing day.” Because Division III colleges don’t offer athletic scholarships, Division III recruits were often left to sign only a blank piece of paper, or an admission agreement with the Division III institution.

What is interesting to me, however, is that this form can be used at any time after August 1, 2015 (when the rule change becomes effective) as long as the prospect has been accepted for enrollment to the college.  While the form will be standardized, there is no standard “signing date or signing period” for the use of this form, as there is with the National Letter of Intent.

In addition, since the early National Letter of Intent signing period is in early November of a prospect’s senior year, Division III recruits still won’t be able to sign this celebratory form if they haven’t yet been officially accepted for enrollment at the college.

I predict that will be changed at a future NCAA Convention, if not before.  If you have questions about these proposals, and how they might impact your student-athlete, contact Rick Allen at 913-766-1235 for a phone consultation, an E-Consult, or submit a question to our Ask Rick Center through our membership site, Informed Athlete University (www.informedathleteuniversity.com).

About Rick Allen

25+ years NCAA Rules Expertise, including Director of Compliance at 2 major DI schools

Former President of National Association for Athletic Compliance (NAAC)

Conducts compliance reviews and audits at NCAA Schools throughout the U.S.

Consulted with NAIA schools transitioning to NCAA membership status

Dad of a DI & DII student-athlete

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