Swimming & Diving Coaches Ask NCAA to Delay Recruiting

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

The College Swimming and Diving Coaches Association (CSCAA) is calling on the NCAA to limit recruiting in the upcoming year. In a letter to members of the NCAA’s Student-Athlete Experience Committee (SAEC) and Division I Council Coordination Committee (CCC), the association requested an extension of the current recruiting dead period until December and a prohibition on on-campus visits through March of 2021.

The request follows last week’s decision by the CCC to extend the dead period in all sports through July 31. In a release, Council chair M. Grace Calhoun, athletics director at Pennsylvania noted that the decision was made to allow “coaches to focus on the student-athletes who may be returning to campus:”

CSCAA Executive Director Greg Earhart explained that doing so would provide a measure of certainty to coaches, prospective student-athletes (PSA’s), and their parents during an unsettling time. The cancellation of college entrance exams and lack of Spring and Summer seasons coupled with the expansion of recruiting into swimmers and divers juniors years have placed coaches and PSA’s in the difficult position of trying to figure out where they fit academically and athletically.

“Taking this step would remove pressure, provide PSAs time to train and compete, and allow coaches some breathing room to address more pressing needs.”

Specifically, many PSA’s were unable to do any on-campus visitation, either officially or unofficially, since the March shutdowns. Swimming and diving coaches have had a crutch in that regard in trying to showcase their campus and team culture – something that cannot simply be recreated virtually. For incoming seniors that have not committed to a school yet, they are running out of time to find safe opportunities to learn about schools in person – and setting a rule across all institutions would only be fair for swimming and diving coaches.

Specifically, the CSCAA cited three concerns:

  • Student-Athlete Health and Safety – Absent a vaccine, effective testing, and contact-tracing, on-campus visits are far too great of a risk to take during the season. Placing current student-athletes at risk of infection is simply irresponsible. By postponing visits, institutions can minimize this risk and enable programs to complete the 2020-21 season.
  • Cost – Eliminating Fall visits would produce immediate and significant savings for programs that are currently wrestling with significant losses in revenue. To date, Division I coaches have already trimmed a collective $6.2 million from their budgets.
  • Competitive Balance – Coaches are adamant in their desire for the consistent application of recruiting restrictions throughout. With states and campuses reopening in different stages and under widely varying levels of restriction this would provide a more level playing field.

Over the past three months, the NCAA has moved rapidly to institute and extend a recruiting dead period while also easing up restrictions on online recruitment. The changes, according to University of Utah Head Coach and CSCAA President, Joe Dykstra, have been welcome.

“We appreciate the NCAA’s Council Coordination Committee’s quick response and flexibility to a rapidly-changing environment. At the same time, both coaches and PSA’s find themselves living month-to-month and this would provide everyone an opportunity to enter the recruiting process in an educated way.”

— The above press release was posted by Swimming World in conjunction with the Collegiate Swimming and Diving Coaches Association of America. For press releases and advertising inquiries please contact Advertising@SwimmingWorld.com.

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  1. avatar
    Tom H.

    So how does that impact rising high school seniors? Many have been engaged with coaches on the phone as juniors but not in person. Most have probably not visited the campus other than virtually. A few of the schools my daughter is considerering are on the other side of the country so a plan has to be in place to get there even if on an unofficial. If recruiting is pushed to March taking more than 1-2 official visits will be problematic. Most will either have to make a gut choice without meeting future teammates and/or take a chance that a spot will be open.

  2. Andy Gallion

    Add this to the continual mass cancellations of the college board tests, and the soul-crushing pressure on the class of 2021 mounts.

    • Andy Gallion

      Vicky Subotich agree. We’ve been fortunate that outdoor pools have opened this Summer. My daughter swims in DC, and we are just waiting to hear the HS pool is not going to open back up in September.

  3. Melody Harrison

    I hope this doesn’t happen. They have already pushed back the dead period twice. Rising seniors are committing to schools without a visit, juniors will be doing the same thing if it’s pushed back to March.

    • Andy Gallion

      It’s brutal. You can’t even get a campus tour independent of athletics at most schools right now. One of the most important factors is fit and how the athlete meshes with the team, and you don’t get that over Zoom. The stress on these kids is enormous right now.

    • Melody Harrison

      Andy Gallion it’s crazy. My daughter who is a Junior has calls scheduled with D1 coaches every single day. How is she going to choose just based on calls? 😢

    • Krystal Pike

      Melody Harrison that’s a hard one. My son had to decide signt unseen and via phone/video conference. We are going off faith it’s the right choice.

  4. Brooke Lee

    How are seniors suppose to select a college for next year if they keep pushing back?

  5. Kathy Allman

    It is absolutely ridiculous to give rising seniors ONE month to make their commitments. By April of 2021, they will have been in a dead period for 13 months. Get them on campus as a non-athlete would…tour, admissions interview, etc. No need to put them up in dorms overnight but a high need for student-athlete and coach to try and detect the “fit”. D1 will be saving lots of money on official visits if this goes through. Then watch transfer rates grow and retention rates shrink in 21-22. This is awful.

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