The IWLCA is pleased to publicize the decision of the NCAA Division I Council to enact the men’s and women’s lacrosse early recruiting proposal (NCAA proposal 2016-26, now renamed 2017-1), effective immediately. This new legislation prohibits recruiting contact with prospective student-athletes (“PSA”) and their families before September 1 of their junior year in high school. The purpose of this proposal was to slow down the recently accelerated recruiting process that has seen PSAs as young as middle-school-age “verbally commit” to colleges.
“We are thrilled that the NCAA Division I Council recognized the need for this legislation and all of the support behind it. Early recruiting in lacrosse has spun out of control and now we have a chance to restore some sanity to the process,” said IWLCA Division I Legislation Committee Chair and Duke Women’s Lacrosse head coach Kerstin Kimel.
Kimel identified a few key decision-makers in this process: “We want to recognize and thank the leadership efforts of Council members Bob Scalise (Athletic Director, Harvard University), Blake James (Athletic Director, University of Miami), Brian Shannon (Texas Tech University, Faculty Athletic Representative) and Vicky Chun (Athletic Director, Colgate University), who have championed this cause and gone out of their way to support our efforts. We commend the Division I Council members for giving lacrosse a chance to be a pilot program for this approach.”
Tracy Coyne, another IWLCA Division I Legislation Committee member and George Washington Women’s Lacrosse head coach, recognized that change is hard, “Now, we will be working to put the genie of early recruiting back in the bottle. While some coaches and PSAs, particularly the classes of 2020 and 2021, may feel anxious about this mandatory pause in the process, it is important to remember that having time to develop as a player is a good thing. Moving the college recruiting process back to the junior and senior years in high school just makes common sense. I don’t think it will take long for this change to feel normal – it is how it used to be. Slowing down the recruiting process will bring back the enjoyment of playing the game for the right reasons.”
This successful initiative represented a collaborative effort between the IWLCA, the IMLCA and US Lacrosse. The leaders and the majority of the members in all three organizations recognized that early recruiting was hurting the sport of lacrosse. The collective commitment, the individual outreach, and the steady publicity helped to keep the issue and proposal on the public radar and ultimately influenced those who voted today.
NOTE: The NCAA has confirmed via email that the proposal was passed, effective immediately, meaning all recruiting contact begins September 1st of a prospective student-athlete's junior year. Any recruiting contact with younger PSAs is impermissible under the new rule. An official NCAA interpretation is expected early next week.