Story: Dead Period Over the Holidays

Recruiting Process Changes


The NCAA mandated “dead period” has begun, slowing the Division I football recruiting process down considerably. College coaches are no longer permitted to leave their campuses to recruit and prospects are no longer allowed to make campus visits. In addition, the coaches are now bound to the “one phone call per week” rule, like during the season and only general (read written) correspondence may be sent. That doesn’t mean that a resourceful recruiter can’t text message a prospect on his cell phone and tell the prospect to call him. This is an ingenious way of circumventing the rule, because prospects can place as many calls as they want at their own expense. Considering the fact that most cell phone plans have multiple ways of creating “free calls”, there isn’t really much expense for the prospect.
In addition the process slows down because most of the coaches have other obligations pressing them other than recruiting. Those teams, which have qualified for Bowl Games, are at the sites, practicing and enjoying the Bowl social festivities. Since almost all the teams pay for the wives and families to make the trip, the assistant coaches finally have time to spend with their families, instead of calling and text messaging all you recruits. If their teams didn’t make Bowl Games, then the coaches have about a week between Christmas and New Years to spend with their families at home. Quite frankly, the dead period is a welcome respite for assistant coaches.
The dead period is also a regrouping time for both coaches and prospects. Many prospects have made several recruiting trips and have offers on the table. This is a great time to be talking with your family and deciding which school you like the best. After New Years, a whole other bunch of prospects will be taking trips and each staff will begin to whittle down their recruiting list. If you have an offer on the table, expect a call after the Holiday to see if you have a decision made. If you say “NO”, understand that that respective college may say that they are bringing in other players at your position and if they commit, your scholarship will be withdrawn. If you are a recruit with an offer, you need to always know what your decision-making timetable is. In only rare occasions, will those offers be still on the table until Signing Day, February 1.
College staffs will be meeting at their Bowl Games to determine how they feel about their recruiting boards. Those that didn’t go Bowling probably have already done that. After the holidays, they will be “squeezing” some prospect to hurry up and make decisions, and begin lining up other players to make visits on the January weekends.
If you are one of those prospects who is making a January visit, expect to be asked to make a verbal commitment on your trip. Those slots are filling up and coaches want to fill their scholarship vacancies. You better have talked with your parents about each of the schools who are still recruiting you, because you DON’T have until February 1 to make a decision.
If you haven’t been offered, haven’t been scheduled for a trip, and/or aren’t receiving phone calls from college coaches, you need to come to the realization that a Division I football scholarship is not going to be a reality. You need to readjust your goals and start considering Division II or III type offers or make a decision to walk on somewhere in Division I. If the latter is your dream, then you also better know when the application deadline is for that school, because you can’t be a college football player without being a college student first.