Know the Rules.....Initial NCAA Rules you Should Know as a Prospective Student Athlete

Phone Calls, Emails, Texts, Contacts, Verbal Commitments, & NLI's

What is the NCAA? The NCAA, or National Collegiate Athletic Association, was "established in 1906 and serves as the athletics governing body for more than 1,300 colleges, universities, conferences and organizations" ( Basically, the NCAA makes all the rules and regulations in which every univeristy, coach, and prospective student athlete must abide by. A few rules every PSA should know about regarding Division I only (Division II and III are different) are phone calls, emails, texts, contacts, verbal commitments, and NLI's.


September 1st of the PSA's junior year is the magic date. That means on September 1st of the PSA's junior year, they can legally receive phone calls, text messages, and emails from Division I coaches.

Before that date arrives though the PSA can make as many phone calls to any institution as possible. The best advice is for the PSA to text the coach prior to making the phone call, which will increase the chances of the coach picking up the phone. If that coach does not pick up, leave a message with a time the PSA will be calling back. Try calling the coach three separate times to get a hold of him/her. I would repeat this process once per week, especially if this is an institution that the PSA is clearly interested in attending.


Use text messages as a way to communicate at tournaments. If the PSA knows a college coach is in attendance, text the coach games times and field locations as those tend to be switched and rescheduled during the tournament. This will allow for the coach to know exactly where to find the PSA.

Another great use for texting is to keep a coach updated on highlights from school or softball. Make sure the coach stays connected with the PSA regardless if the coach cannot text back. They receive the message...believe me!


Emails are used the same way as text messages; they really are just used to let coaches know where the PSA will be playing, game times, and schedules. It is also a way to formally keep a coach up to date on what is happening in the PSA's life. The only problem with emails is that most coaches are inundated with them and they might not always be read at all or on time.


Each coach is allowed to have three off campus contacts with a PSA. That means past July 1st of the PSA's junior year prior to starting their senior year, a coach can now communicate in person with the PSA and or their family. This can only happen on three separate occasions.


A verbal commitment can be made at any time in the PSA's career. Verbally committing to an institution is a verbal agreement that the PSA and the coaching staff of the institution agreed upon. It can happen when a PSA is in any grade and of any age.


An NLI, National Letter of Intent, is a document administered by the Collegiate Commissioners Association and used by subscribing member institutions to establish the commitment of a prospective student-athlete to attend a particular institution and the financial agreement. The NLI is sent out during one of two signing periods during the PSA's senior year. Once a player has signed an NLI, they are legally bound to the contract in it's entirety.

So remember as a PSA, one cannot receive any form of communication before September 1st of one's junior year. After that date has arrived, one cannot have any in person off campus contacts until after July 1st of the PSA's junior year. Lastly, a verbal commitment is just that and can happen at any time. The NLI is a document that binds the PSA to the corresponding institution and can only be signed during the signing periods during the PSA's senior year.