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Rutgers Athletics Office of Compliance
Recruiting Prospective Students


Prospective Student-Athlete

A student who has started classes for the ninth grade.  In addition, a student who has not started classes for the ninth grade becomes a prospective student-athlete if Rutgers provides such an individual (or the individual’s relatives or friends) any financial assistance or other benefits that Rutgers does not provide to prospective students generally. 

A prospective student athlete becomes a “recruited prospective student athlete” once a Rutgers staff member or athletics representative: (a) provides the prospect with an official visit; (b) has an arranged, in-person, off-campus encounter with the prospect or the prospect’s parent(s), relative(s) or legal guardian(s); (c) initiates or arranges a telephone contact with the prospect, the prospect’s parent(s), relative(s) or legal guardian(s) on more than one occasion for the purpose of recruitment; or (d) issues the prospect a National Letter of Intent or written offer of athletically-related financial aid.


Recruiting occurs whenever a member of the Rutgers athletics staff or an athletics representative encourages a prospective student-athlete to enroll at Rutgers and compete in athletics. 

No alumni, boosters or representatives of a college's athletics interests can be involved in recruiting prospective student-athletes.  Only coaches and staff members of a college or university are permitted to recruit prospective student-athletes to their school. 

Note: This restriction does not apply to recruiting by alumni or representatives as part of a college's regular admissions program for all prospective students, including non-athletes.

Recruiting Calendars
There are certain designated times during a prospect’s career when a college coach can contact, evaluate, telephone and write to a prospect.  These periods vary depending on the sport for which the prospect is recruited.  For the specific time periods applicable to your recruitment, please refer to the NCAA Guide for the College Bound Student-Athlete which can be found at www.ncaa.org.

Recruiting Contact
A contact is any face-to-face encounter between a prospect or the prospect’s parent(s), relative(s) or legal guardian(s) and a Rutgers University staff member or athletics representative during which any dialogue occurs in excess of an exchange of a greeting.  Any such face-to-face encounter that is prearranged (e.g., a coach or athletics representative positions himself/herself in a location where a contact is possible) or that takes place on the grounds of the prospect’s educational institution or at the site of organized competition or practice involving the prospect or the prospect’s high-school, preparatory school, two-year college or all-star team shall be considered a contact, regardless of whether any conversation occurs. 

Recruiting Evaluation
An evaluation is any off-campus activity designed to assess the academic qualifications or athletics ability of a prospect, including any visit to a prospect’s educational institution during which no contact occurs or the observation of a prospect participating in any practice or competition. 

Telephone Calls
Generally, an institution’s staff members may begin to place telephone calls to a prospect on a maximum of one occasion per week following the prospect’s junior year in high school (beginning July 1 in all sports except football and basketball, August 1 in basketball and September 1 in football).  Coaches in some sports, however, are permitted to contact prospects during their junior year in high school.  Exceptions and additional telephone call guidelines can be found in the NCAA Guide for the College Bound Student-Athlete (see www.ncaa.org).

Prospects and their parents are permitted to telephone a coaching or other staff member at the university at their own expense at any time. 

Correspondence to Prospective Student-Athletes
A prospect may receive written correspondence (including e-mail) and certain specified recruiting materials (e.g., a media guide) from an institution’s staff beginning September 1 of his/her junior year in high school.  In men’s basketball, prospects may receive such recruiting materials following the completion of their sophomore year in high school.

Official Visits
An official visit by a prospect is a visit financed in whole or in part by the institution he/she is visiting.  A prospect may take up to five (5) paid official visits during his/her recruitment and may begin taking official visits as of the first day of classes for their senior year in high school.  A prospect may make only one (1) such official visit to any particular school.

During an official visit (which may not exceed 48 hours), a prospect may receive round-trip transportation to the institution’s campus, from any location, as long as the prospect returns to the original departure point.  Additionally, if return transportation is provided to the prospects home, educational institution or competition site, the cost may not exceed the expenses necessary for round trip travel to the original point of departure.  The prospect (and his/her parents) may also receive meals, lodging and three complimentary admissions to campus athletics events.
For more information on Official Visits, see the NCAA Guide for the College Bound Student Athlete which can be found at www.ncaa.org.

Unofficial Visits

An unofficial visit is a campus visit made at the prospect’s own expense.  A prospect may visit an institution’s campus at any time (except during a recruiting dead period) at his/her own expense and there is no limit to the number of times the prospect may visit unofficially.  In men’s basketball, prospects may not make unofficial visits during the month of July and in women’s basketball, prospects may not make unofficial visits during the evaluation period or the dead period in the month of July.

Prospective Transfers

The recruiting rules that apply to high school prospects also fully apply to two-year and four-year college prospects (e.g., official visits, telephone calls, general correspondence, number of contacts). 

A four-year school wishing to contact a student-athlete of another four-year school must obtain written permission (i.e., a release) from the student-athlete’s first school in order to initiate contact with the student-athlete.  A four-year school wishing to contact a student-athlete of a two-year school does not need written permission (i.e., a release) to speak with him/her.  Contact may occur at the institution’s discretion in accordance with NCAA regulations regarding when and how often contact may be made.

Note:  If a student-athlete is denied permission to speak with another institution about transferring, he/she must receive the opportunity for a hearing on the matter.  The hearing must be conducted by a committee made up of non-athletics personnel. 

National Letter of Intent

The National Letter of Intent (NLI) is administered by the Collegiate Commissioners Association (not the NCAA) and is utilized by subscribing member institutions to establish the commitment of a prospect to attend a particular institution. 

The primary goals of the NLI Program are:  (1) to reduce and limit recruiting pressure on student-athletes and (2) to promote and preserve the amateur nature of collegiate athletics.  By signing an NLI, a prospective student-athlete agrees to attend the designated college or university for one academic year.  In return, the college or university with which the individual signs agrees to provide some amount of athletics financial aid for one academic year to the student-athlete, provided he/she is admitted to the institution and is eligible for financial aid under NCAA rules.  Once a prospective student-athlete signs an NLI, all participating institutions in the program must cease recruitment of that prospect.

Note:  A prospect (or his/her family, friends, etc.) may not receive any benefit, inducement or arrangement such as cash, clothing, cars, improper expenses, transportation, gifts or loans to encourage him/her to sign an NLI or attend an NCAA institution.

The NLI Program sets forth specific signing periods each year for each intercollegiate sport.  An individual may only sign an NLI during those specified periods.

The NLI is a voluntary agreement between a prospective student-athlete and an institution.  There are penalties associated with the NLI when the prospect or institution does not fulfill their respective commitment as outlined in the NLI. 

For additional information, visit the NLI Program web page at www.national-letter.org .  You may also visit www.ncaa.org and review the Recruiting & Eligibility/Student-Athlete Eligibility and Recruiting section.


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