Glossary of Basketball Recruiting Terms

  • Date:
    Feb 9, 2011

College recruiting is a process that deserves its own dictionary. So here it is.

If you're trying to become a college basketball player, chances are you will hear words like "dead period" or "letter of intent" or "unofficial visit" throughout the journey. It's common lingo for those who have been around the recruiting world. But the truth is, young basketball players usually aren't recruited more than once. It's a new process for almost everybody, so don't feel like you're behind the 8-ball just because you don't understand everything.

The NCAA recently defined several terms that are widely used in recruiting. Here's a look at the recruiting process from start to finish, and some unfamiliar terms you might come across along the way:

Initial Interest

Prospective Student-Athlete: When a student enters ninth grade. It also applies when, before a student's ninth-grade year, a college gives the student, the student's relatives or their friends any financial aid or other benefits that the college does not generally provide to prospective students.

Contact: When a coach has any face-to-face contact with a prospective student-athlete or the prospect's parents off the college's campus and says more than hello. A contact also occurs if a coach has any contact with the prospective student-athlete or his or her parents at the prospective student-athlete's high school or any location where the prospect is engaging in competition or practice.

Evaluation: An activity by a coach to evaluate a prospective student-athlete's academic or athletics ability. This would include visiting the prospective student-athlete's high school or watching the prospect practice or compete.

Recruiting Calendar Terms

Quiet Period: The college coach may not have any in-person contact with you or your parents off the college's campus. The coach cannot watch you play or visit your high school during this period.

Contact Period: The college coach can talk to you or your family on or off campus, and can watch you play.

Dead Period: The college coach cannot have any in-person contact with you. However, the coach can write you or call you on the phone.

Evaluation Period: The college coach can watch you play or visit your high school, but can't talk to you off the college's campus.

Visiting a School

Official Visit: A prospective student-athlete's visit to a college campus paid for by the college. The college can pay for transportation to and from the college, room and meals (three per day) while visiting and reasonable entertainment expenses, including three complimentary admissions to a home athletics contest. NCAA recruiting bylaws limit the number of official visits a recruit may take to five.

Unofficial Visit: Any visit by a prospective student-athlete and their parents to a college campus paid for by the prospective student-athlete or the prospect's parents. The only expense the prospective student-athlete can receive from the college is three complimentary admissions to a home athletics contest. The prospect may make as many visits as he or she likes and may take the visits at any time. The only time the prospective student-athlete cannot talk with a coach during an unofficial visit is during a dead period.

Picking a School

Verbal Commitment: A college-bound student-athlete's commitment to a school before he or she is able to sign a National Letter of Intent. A college-bound student-athlete can announce a verbal commitment at any time. Verbal commitments are popular, but they are not binding to either the student-athlete or the school.

National Letter of Intent: The document a prospective student-athlete signs when he or she agrees to attend the designated college or university for one academic year. According to the terms of the program, participating institutions agree to provide athletics financial aid for one academic year to the student-athlete, provided he or she is admitted to the institution and is eligible for financial aid under NCAA rules. An important provision of the National Letter of Intent program is a recruiting prohibition applied after a prospective student-athlete signs a National Letter of Intent. This prohibition requires participating institutions to cease recruitment of a prospective student-athlete once a a National Letter of Intent is signed with another school.

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