Adrenaline Sees Positive Impact Of New Recruiting Rules On The Game
At Adrenaline, most of us are coaches. We feel the most at home being on a sideline and connected to the young players in our sport. We bring this perspective to our business every day. As coaches, we look out for the best interests of our players and our north star is simple, “to empower the lacrosse athlete”. Over the years, with top NCAA coaches as business partners, I have had the opportunity to take part, mostly as a fly on the wall, in some amazing discussions on various high level topics concerning our sport. The past 5 years or so nothing has been a hotter burning fire than the early recruiting dilemma for NCAA D1 coaches. This conversation was bounced back and forth for years with no conclusion in sight. Fortunately, these great leaders got together and enacted change. I want to be the first to say to the NCAA D1 coaches that ADRLN applauds the new early recruiting rule that was passed by the NCAA D1 coaches council. We are convinced it serves the best interests of the young players in our sport and fits with our pledge to Empower the Lacrosse Athlete. As it pertains to our customers, players, coaches, business and the events landscape, below is a summary and commentary on the many positive affects it will have on our players and sport for many years to come.
THE RULE CHANGE IN A NUTSHELL:
- NCAA D1 coaches cannot have contact with players regarding recruiting until Sept. 1st of their junior year. This means coaches cannot make phone calls, emails, or communications to players regarding recruiting them to play for their team or attend their institution.
- Players before September 1st of their Junior year may not initiate contact with college coaches regarding recruiting. Additionally, these rules apply to the player whose phone calls, emails, and any other communication will not be answered regarding recruiting until Sept. 1st of their junior year. They can’t talk to you as a player about recruiting and you can’t talk to them. This eliminates verbal commitments of any kind for NCAA D1 programs until Sept. 1st of their junior year.
- NCAA D1 coaches may have personal contact with players in an educational events and camps setting. Additionally, certain communications may be sent to players regarding attending an institutional camp, prospect camp or otherwise.
- NCAA D1 coaches may still send questionnaires to players to fill out.
- There are no longer any unofficial visits allowed for players until Sept. 1st of their junior year.
- NCAA D1 coaches can still communicate with high school and club coaches concerning a player. Coaches can certainly help answer questions for their players and NCAA coaches alike about players as they go through their “evaluation” years of freshman-junior. However coaches may not be used to circumvent the established recruiting contact rules. In other words no commitments can be made through the conversations with NCAA and a player’s coach. Commitments can only happen with direct communications with the players after Sept. 1st of the junior year.
- NCAA coaches will still be attending, evaluating and “recruiting” at many of the same events. In fact, it is likely they will now be watching and evaluating harder and longer than ever at events. With increased pressure to evaluate players over multiple years, college coaches will now pick and choose carefully which events they attend. They will get very good at watching a player’s progress at multiple points during their development while also identifying late bloomers so that when Sept. 1st comes of a player’s junior year they can act quickly and decisively on the players they want to recruit. I’m guessing here but the lists of prospects will be longer because of the increased competition during a short window of closing players.
THE POSITIVE IMPACT FOR THE PLAYERS:
- Education, Improvement & Fun: This rule change corrects the current player thought paradigm from one of a focus on collegiate commitment to that of education, fun and improvement. Without the pressure of committing to a school early the “get committed” pressure disappears and is replaced with a focus on education, improvement and fun.
- Coaches will be watching and evaluating players at events harder than ever: They may not be able to talk to players about recruiting but NCAA coaches will be lining sidelines and working very hard to develop lists of players from events that fit within what they are looking for in their program. They will have a chance to watch and track a player’s development throughout their early playing days and pick out late comers (see point above) onto the events circuit. Because of this rule change the organizational work and on field evaluation they will need to do when developing their prospect list will be likely increase due to the mad rush of closing commitments that will ensue on Sept. 1st for the juniors throughout the country. I’m also guessing these lists will need to be deeper and longer for many of the NCAA programs.
- Elimination of early player attrition and disenfranchisement: Any coach knows that feeling of a great player who simply isn’t an “early” commit who gets discouraged by the process and disenfranchised with the sport. They watch their friends talk about where they are committed, hear anecdotally of players on other teams who are committed and ask “why not me?”. This rule change removes that negative feeling from the equation for young developing lacrosse players and allows them to focus on getting better, and have fun without any negative stigmas. This will keep developing players happy and motivated for longer periods of time with our sport.
- So you say there is a chance! As a former late bloomer, 5 feet tall as a sophomore, I never would have been an NCAA D1 player in today’s early recruiting environment. Back then the environment was like what this new rule enforces. Coaches would watch you play as you developed, then you got recruited your junior year. Now once again players who bloom late, have had injuries, missed the early recruiting circuit, picked up the game late, are from non-hotbed areas or have not had the proper exposure have a chance to get seen and recruited by NCAA D1 colleges at events. After all no one is committed until then Sept. 1st of your junior year.
- NCAA coaches will reconnect with players in a meaningful way with valuable personal interactions at certain events: Once again, yes it used to be this way, Prospect camps and other educational opportunities will now see NCAA coaches deeply involved with the development, instruction and mentorship of our sports young players. Because of this rule change these types of programs are their main opportunity to have a personal conversation and connection with the players. This is truly impactful and has a trickle down affect that will help reinvigorate the youth base within our sport. I’ve watched the effects of this firsthand at our ACC prospect event (ACPG) and our other NCAA coaches partnered events. Seeing these amazing coaches personally involved with teaching the game, interacting and mentoring the young lacrosse athletes is truly special. We have never had so many appreciative players and parents than after each one of those events. This is all due to the amazing hands on coaching and personal life lessons these young athletes absorb from the top NCAA leaders in our sport. The hope is these players take those lessons and experiences and the resulting excitement back to their communities to pass on to the younger players and once again reinvigorate the youth base in our sport.
As a former player, and current youth and high school coach, I am thankful that we have an effective and mindful lacrosse leadership core in place with the NCAA coaches. Once again, they have proven that they will continue to lead and guide the sport in a responsible manner and are able to effectively and decisively make changes. As our sport continues to evolve it feels good that this leadership core truly keeps in mind the best interests of the players we all care so much about. These guys made a commitment to seeing this through and to work harder than ever to ensure the players within our sport are truly empowered. From us at Adrenaline I want to once again say thank you to all the NCAA D1 coaches for this type of commitment to our players and the future of the sport.
CEO Adrenaline Lacrosse
Education and high level training at the camp level is more important than ever. Learn more about our 2017 individual offerings that feature NCAA led drills and training (boys unless denoted it includes girls):
Conference Centric Camps:
Atlantic Coast Prospect Games WEST: July 30th – August 1st, Livermore, CA
Atlantic Coast Prospect Games EAST: October 27th & 29th, FL
Service Academy Prospect Games: October 20th – 22nd, Coronado, CA
New England Prospect Games: December 15th – 17th, FL
G3 Prospect Academy EAST: July 25th – 27th, Avon, CT
G3 Prospect Academy WEST: July 30th – August 1st, Livermore, CA
High Rollers Midwest: July 11th & 12th, North Ridgeville, OH
High Rollers Northwest: July 26th & 27th, Seattle, WA
High Rollers Tennessee: July 27th & 28th, Nashville, TN
High Rollers SoCal: November 11th & 12, Del Mar, CA
Girls Southern Showcase (GIRLS only): June 12th & 13th, Louisville, KY
Summer Invitational Showcase PA: June 27th, Downingtown, PA *Occurs day before Summer Invitational PA Team Tournament
Western Showcase: July 14th, Aurora, CO *Occurs day before Western Shootout Team Tournament
Syracuse Shootout: July 17th, Syracuse, NY
Fall Invitational Showcase DE: November 4th, Frederica, DE *Occurs day before Fall Invitational DE Team Tournament
Winter Showcase: January 5th, Del Mar, CA *Occurs day before Adrln Challenge Team Tournament
San Diego Regional Prospect Day (BOYS & GIRLS): June 16th, Del Mar, CA *Occurs day before America’s Finest Rivarly Team Tournament
Seattle Regional Prospect Day: October 27th, Seattle WA *Occurs day before Emerald City Showdown Team Tournament
Las Vegas Regional Prospect Day: December 1st, Las Vegas, NV *Occurs day before Blackjack Classic Team Tournament