The rules of recruiting in the NCAA
The GIST: Recruitment can be a delicate dance, especially with NIL busting a move on the floor. Monitoring and enforcement are tricky, and when coaches and other reps are caught red-handed, the consequences can run the gamut.
The process: The NCAA defines recruiting as “anything more than a hello” between reps and potential players or their parents. In practice, however, the line between legal and illegal communications is wildly blurry — and exposing rule-breakers is difficult, as much of this contact occurs over email and social media.
- The aforementioned Harbaugh’s current communication controversy has him accused of contacting potential recruits during a COVID-19 dead period, then lying about it to the NCAA. Pants very much on fire.
- There are many instances of major programs placed in time-out because of other recruitment-related offenses, like arranging endorsements at Kansas, directly paying players at NC State, and using…unsavory tactics to woo recruits at Louisville.
The NIL minefield: Some of the most serious NIL concerns relate to recruiting and the potential creation of pay-to-play schemes. As we’ve said before, there’s a fine line between suggesting a recruit could bank big NIL money and straight-up offering them financial incentives to commit — a huge violation that could heavily favor the richest programs…as long as they’re not caught.