What does it mean if an athletic recruiting service says they are “NCAA-Approved”

We’ve recently had lots of questions asking about recruiting services that state on their website that they’re “NCAA-approved” or feature the NCAA logo on their website.

It is possible for a recruiting service to be “approved” by the NCAA, but we believe that is very misleading for high school athletes and parents, and here’s why:

In order for coaches of NCAA Division I football, and men’s and women’s basketball programs to subscribe and receive information about recruits from a recruiting service, the recruiting service must be pre-approved by the NCAA staff and must provide their recruiting information to the college coaches under very strict guidelines established by the NCAA.

Here’s a copy of the rule for your own review:

“Division I Bylaw Subscription Limited to Approved Services—Basketball and Football. In basketball and football, an institution shall not subscribe to a recruiting or scouting service unless the service has been approved by the NCAA pursuant to an annual approval process.”

So, it is possible for a recruiting service to be approved by the NCAA specifically for those sports.

HOWEVER, that does NOT mean that the service has been recommended by the NCAA for high school athletes and parents to sign up for that recruiting service. This is especially true if the athlete is not in the sports of basketball or football, since those are the only sports for which such approval is required.

Also, if you come across a recruiting service website that features a quote from an NCAA Division I or II coach recommending that service, be aware that the recruiting service does not know the NCAA rules because such a recommendation is not permissible:

“Division I Bylaw and Division II Bylaw Recruiting Service Consultants. Institutional athletics department staff members may not endorse, serve as consultants or participate on advisory panels for any recruiting or scouting service involving prospective student-athletes.”

As with any other business, some recruiting services are better than others, and you may have a very good experience in using a particular service.

But, don’t be swayed by the label of “NCAA-approved”, especially if your sport is NOT basketball or football – the only sports for which such approval is required before a Division I coach can access their information.

If you have questions about this or any other topic pertaining to recruiting, eligibility, scholarships, or transfer situations, contact us for further information at 913-766-1235 or rick@informedathlete.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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