If you’re hoping to play college athletics at a Division III school, you’re going to want to talk to the coaches at the schools that you might be interested in attending. Likewise, there will be coaches from other schools contacting you to see where you stand on a school decision. Just for your convenience, keep a spare notebook handy to copy names and telephone numbers, or to remind you to ask certain questions about either the team or the school.
Like all bureaucracies, the NCAA has many regulations and bylaws to legislate just about everything. Luckily, the rules are less stringent at the Division III level as these schools are not allowed to offer you money in the form of athletic scholarships. But keep your grades up and do well on your SATs. Division III schools can and will offer financial assistance based on need and academic performance.
It’s easiest to divide the rules as pertaining to Contacts, Communications and finally, Campus Visits, as that’s the presumed order that they’d take place.
These rules refer to face-to-face contact. As you can read below, there are no rules against a coach observing you in a game or showcase.
• There are no restrictions on the number of off-campus contacts.
• Off-campus contacts are not permitted until the conclusion of the prospect’s junior year of high school.
• There are no restrictions on the number or the timing on the observation of a prospect participating in practice or competition.
Four-Year College Prospects have an additional requirement:
• Recruiting of any type of NCAA or NAIA four-year college student is not allowed without prior written permission from the student’s current school. However, student-athletes transferring from one D3-school to another have the authority to sign the self-release form themselves.
Communications are divided into four general categories:
Recruiting Materials & Letters
• No restrictions on the timing of material or letters
• A prospective student-athlete can receive any of the same publications, or videotapes that are made available to any other student.
• No restrictions on the number or timing of telephone calls to prospects.
E-Mails or Facsimiles
• No restrictions on the number or timing of e-mails or faxes.
Text Messages/Instant Messenger/Social Networking Sites
• This type of communication is not allowed for recruiting purposes.
• However, this type of communication by athletic departments “for dissemination of general athletics information to a public group that may include prospective student-athletes” is permissible. Thus, you can sign up for game text alerts from a college that you’re interested in attending if they have that available to all fans and the general public. Likewise, you could “friend” a college or team, but only if the page was for all prospective students or all the fans of that particular school.
Campus Visits are considered “Official” if money is exchanged in a way or “Unofficial” if no money is involved. Here are the details:
• Each school is allowed to pay one student’s way for a visit
• There is a limit as to what they can pay on transportation, meals, lodging and entertainment.
• Official visits can start beginning with the first day of senior classes for the prospect.
• You may visit a member of the school you’re interested in attending – at your own expense – an unlimited number of times.
• There are no restrictions on the timing of these visits.
The following note is very important, so I quote it in full here from the booklet:
“Division III recruiting rules apply to athletics-based recruiting and are not meant to limit an institution’s admissions office from the recruitment of prospective students generally.”
NCAA Division III Athletics Recruiting Quick Reference Guide, Pamphlet, 08/12/09.