Recruiting Timeline
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NCAA Division 1 Softball Recruiting Rules

The D1 NCAA softball recruiting rules are the most restrictive recruiting rules, breaking down when athletes can receive specific forms of communication from coaches based on their year in high school:

  • September 1 junior year: Coaches can send athletes all forms of private electronic correspondence, including text messages, instant messages, direct messages and emails, as well as all recruiting materials. Coaches can also call athletes at this point. NO contact is permitted before this date between a college coach and the recruit, their parents, their current coaches or any other third party.
  • September 1 junior year: Athletes may begin taking unofficial visits and planning them with the school’s athletic department.
  • September 1 junior year: Athletes may begin taking official visits.
  • July 1 after junior year: Coaches can conduct off-campus contact with athletes at their home or school.
  • Senior year: College softball coaches can conduct off-campus communications with athletes and/or their parents no more than three times.

NCAA Division 2 Softball Recruiting Rules

The NCAA softball recruiting rules for Division 2 schools are slightly more relaxed than those for Division 1, with most contact starting summer of the athlete’s junior year:

  • Any time: Athletes can receive brochures for camps, questionnaires, NCAA materials and non-athletic recruiting publications at any time.
  • June 15 before junior year: Coaches may begin calling athletes. They can also conduct off-campus communications with athletes and/or their parents. At this time, athletes may start taking official visits.
  • July 15 before junior year: Coaches may send athletes printed recruiting materials.

NCAA Division 3 Softball Recruiting Rules

D3 softball colleges have the most relaxed NCAA recruiting rules of all the division levels:

  • Recruiting materials: Athletes can receive recruiting materials at any time.
  • Telephone calls: There is no limit on when college coaches can call athletes.
  • Off-campus contact: After the athlete’s sophomore year, college coaches may begin to conduct off-campus communications.
  • Official visits: Athletes can begin taking official visit after January 1 of their junior year.

NAIA Softball Recruiting Rules

The NAIA has fewer recruiting rules than the NCAA. NAIA coaches can contact student athletes anytime during high school. NAIA recruiting tends to start a little later than NCAA DI or DII recruiting, as NAIA coaches see which athletes just missed the cut to compete at a DI school. They also spend more time making sure that their school is the right fit for athletes socially and academically, as well as athletically

2018-2019 Division 1 Softball Recruiting Calendar

The NCAA restricts which camps and clinics college softball coaches and their staff members are allowed to work at. The rules state that coaches and their staff members can only work at events off their campus if they take place during periods where evaluations are permitted at non-scholastic practices or competitions. This is something that coaches know to comply with, so families generally don’t have to worry about it. However, when looking at attending events for exposure, keep the evaluation periods in the back of your mind, and avoid attending off-campus camps or clinics during evaluation periods where coaches can only attend scholastic practices and competitions.

Contact Period: During this time, coaches can email, text, call, direct message and generally contact athletes and their parents through any NCAA-approved method.

  • Aug. 1-12, 2018
  • June 6 – July 31, 2019: These dates are subject to change based on the 2018 NCAA Division 1 Women’s Softball Championship. The dead period remains in effect until the day after the Women’s College World Series concludes. For example, if the championship series ends after two games, the dead period would end on June 5 and the contact period would start June 6.

Evaluation Period: Throughout the evaluation period, coaches are allowed to watch an athlete compete in person or visit them at their school or home. However, there are some specific rules about where coaches can evaluate athletes, so pay close attention to whether coaches can evaluate athletes at school events, non-school events or both.

  • Aug. 12 – Oct. 12, 2018: Coaches can evaluate athletes only at school-based practices and games.
  • Oct. 13-14, 2018: Coaches can evaluate athletes at school-based and non-scholastic practices and activities.
  • Oct. 15-19, 2019: Coaches can evaluate athletes only at school-based practices and games.
  • Oct. 20-21, 2018: Coaches can evaluate athletes at school-based and non-scholastic practices and activities.
  • Oct. 22-26, 2018: Coaches can evaluate athletes only at school-based practices and games.
  • Oct. 27-28, 2018: Coaches can only evaluate athletes at school-based and non-scholastic practices and activities.
  • Oct. 29 – Nov. 2, 2018: Coaches can evaluate athletes only at school-based practices and games.
  • Nov. 3-4, 2018: Coaches can only evaluate athletes at school-based and non-scholastic practices and activities.
  • Nov. 5-9, 2018: Coaches can evaluate athletes only at school-based practices and games.
  • Nov. 10-11, 2018: Coaches can evaluate athletes at school-based and non-scholastic practices and activities.
  • Nov. 16, 2018: Coaches can evaluate athletes only at school-based practices and games.
  • Nov. 17-18, 2018: Coaches can evaluate athletes at school-based and non-scholastic practices and activities.
  • Jan. 2 – May 27, 2019: Coaches can evaluate athletes only at school-based practices and games.
  • April 13 – May 28, 2018: Coaches can evaluate athletes only at school-based practices and games.
  • Coaches can also evaluate athletes during the high school regional and state championship games, as long as they don’t fall within the dead period.

Quiet Period: The quiet period is a time when coaches may not have face-to-face contact with recruits off the college campus, such as at the athletes’ school, or at the athlete’s games and tournaments. In other words, the coach can only talk to recruits on the coach’s campus or through any other approved electronic means of communication.

  • Nov. 19 – Dec. 4, 2018
  • Dec. 9, 2018 – Jan. 1, 2019

Dead Period: During the dead period, coaches may not have any in-person contact with recruits or their families. Coaches can still keep in touch with recruits via phone, email, social media and other approved electronic means of communication.

  • Nov. 12-15, 2018
  • Dec. 5-8, 2018
  • May 28 – June 5, 2019: These dates are based on the 2019 NCAA Division 1 Women’s Softball Championship. The dead period remains in effect until the day following the final day of competition, which could be either June 4 or June 5. For example, if the championship series ends after two games, the dead period would end on June 5 and the contact period would start June 6.

2018-2019 Division 2 Softball Recruiting Calendar

The dates below indicate the recruiting dead periods for softball in the 2018-2019 school year. For any dates not listed, treat them like a contact period.

  • November 12 (7 a.m.) – 14 (7 a.m.), 2018 (during the 48 hours prior to 7 a.m. on the initial date for the signing period of the National Letter of Intent)