The IWLCA has announced that the Division I women’s lacrosse coaches have submitted two legislative proposals to the NCAA. The first of these proposals revises the DI women’s lacrosse recruiting calendar and the second standardizes the initial date for all communication with prospective student-‐athletes and their families. These efforts to bring about highly supported change in the recruiting process are the culmination of several years worth of discussion and surveys by the Division I coaching membership.
There has not been an opportunity to revise the women’s lacrosse recruiting calendar in over four years due to an NCAA moratorium on new legislation. “Our membership has been discussing amending the recruiting calendar for years, and we finally have the opportunity to do so,” said Karin Brower Corbett, head coach at the University of Pennsylvania and co-‐chair of the Recruiting Issues Committee. “We’ve spent a lot of time listening to people’s opinions, discussing ways to address these concerns and finally measuring support for different models. We believe the proposal we submitted will benefit both coaches and prospective student-‐athletes.”
The proposal to amend the recruiting calendar will make a distinction between “recruiting periods,” when coaches are only permitted to recruit at high school/scholastic events, and “evaluation periods,” when coaches are permitted to recruit at any type of event. Additionally, the calendar will include dead periods for two weeks in August and for three days surrounding major national holidays.
According to Corbett, “the calendar proposal puts the focus back on high school sports, and allows prospects to stay focused on their academics through the entire school year by eliminating the pressure to compete in outside events year-round.”
The second proposal seeks to standardize September 1 of the junior year as the initial contact date for all communication and contact with prospective student-‐athletes and their families. “It makes it very simple,” said Kerstin Kimel, head coach at Duke University and co-‐chair of the Recruiting Issues Committee. “All recruiting will begin on September 1 of the junior year. Before that, there should be no direct recruiting contact between a Division I coach and a prospect or her parents.”
Current recruiting legislation already prohibits Division I coaches from initiating communication with prospects prior to September 1 of the junior year; however, there is no current legislation prohibiting them from communicating with prospects prior to that date if the prospect initiates the communication or the communication takes place on the college campus.
“This proposal simplifies the rules regarding contact by allowing all direct communication to begin on one date: September 1st of the junior year and it is our expectation that this will slow down the recruiting process,” Kimel explained. “Right now there is a lot of pressure on ninth and tenth graders to jump into the recruiting process when they really should be focused on making the transition to high school, prioritizing academics, playing high school sports and enjoying their high school experience. This proposal will allow them the time to mature mentally, physically, and emotionally before making a decision regarding their college choice.”
Currently, the Sport-‐Specific Requests Subcommittee of the NCAA’s Division I Student-‐ Athlete Experience Committee is considering these proposals and will choose whether or not to recommend them for further review within the NCAA legislative process. “These proposals have a significant amount of support from the Division I coaching body – over 85% voted in favor of each proposal,” Kimel said. “We hope the NCAA will recognize the need for changes in the recruiting process, and also the consensus we’ve built to support these changes.”