National Collegiate Athletic Association is a membership driven organization whose primary function is student-athlete well-being. The colleges and universities that have joined the NCAA work together to create rules for safe and fair competition in college athletics. The NCAA national staff enforces the rules, organizes national championships and provides support for student-athletes and the schools they attend. There are three NCAA Divisions that create their own rules while still working within the principles of the NCAA. For more information read the NCAA EC's Guide for the College-Bound Student-Athlete.

The membership of each NCAA division has written recruiting rules that all coaches in that division must follow. The rules are written to prevent prospective student-athletes from being inundated by phone calls, texts, private social media, etc. from college coaches at a very early age and to ensure that no school has a recruiting advantage.

However, coaches can communicate with prospective student-athletes earlier than the NCAA permits and still be within the rules. College coaches use club and high school coaches as a conduit between themselves and prospective student-athletes. Prospective student-athletes (PSA) can call college coaches at any time. In this way, the PSA regulates who they want to speak with and when, which minimizes their inconvenience. This is how freshmen and sophomores are verbally committing to colleges prior to the time when coaches can officially call them.

NCAA DI DII DIII
Recruiting Material Can receive camp brochures, questionnaires & admissions publications only (no athletic recruiting material) Can receive camp brochures, questionnaires & admissions publications only (no athletic recruiting material) Can send camp brochures, questionnaires & recruiting material
Phone Calls You can call coaches Coaches cannot call you You can call coaches Coaches cannot call/text you You can call coaches Coaches can call/text you - unlimited
Off Campus Contact No No No
Unofficial Visits Yes - unlimited except during dead periods Yes - unlimited except during dead periods Unlimited
Official Visits No No No

Current NCAA recruiting rules for prospective swimmers entering college in fall 2017. NCAA recruiting rules change often and will be updated as rules change. Updated 1/1/17.

Additional Info

Additionally the NCAA has set up the NCAA Eligibility Center (EC) which determines both a prospective student-athlete’s initial college eligibility and amateurism for division I and II. High school students who would like to participate in DI or DII athletics must register for the NCAA EC (sophomore year) and be certified by them for eligibility based on their high school classes /grades, test scores (SAT / ACT) and proof of graduation from high school. The requirements for DI and DII are different and change periodically. Look for your high school graduation year in the NCAA EC to find your requirements. For DIII you do not need to register with the NCAA EC. Division III schools set their own admissions standards for freshmen eligibility.

Prospective student-athletes must also be certified as amateurs by the NCAA EC. The NCAA membership has adopted this process to ensure that student’s priority is obtaining a quality education while maintaining competitive equity. Each prospective student-athlete interested in participating in DI and DII athletics is required to answer to answer several questions pertaining to his or her sports participation history. The NCAA defines an amateur as someone who has not profited (above their actual expenses) or gained a competitive advantage in their sport. Most incoming athletes receive certification without a review. A small percentage of incoming student-athletes are reviewed because they have received prize money based on athletics, participated in a try-out, practiced, competed or signed a contract with a professional team, played with professionals, agreed to be represented by an agent and delayed initial full-time college enrollment to participate in organized sports competition.