Typically, student athletes are discovered by a college coach through their high school coach. Due to NCAA communication limitations, coaches have limited capacity to reach out to students themselves. If you're interested in a certain program, have your coach make contact with the college coach. It's as simple as that!
Coaches look for players who stand out on film or during practice and meet certain criteria, such as being strong enough to play multiple positions, having talent that can't be taught, etc. They may also seek players who come from large families or suffer from illness in their communities. Coaches want to provide a good education experience for their players outside of basketball court issues such as class scheduling, nutrition, and health care.
Some schools specifically target male athletes. These programs look for tall players with long limbs, since many power forward and center positions require such physical traits. Female athletes may be targeted by programs looking for forwards or centers.
There are two types of recruiting: official and unofficial. Officially, colleges and universities can communicate with prospective students only through their high school counselors or registrars. Unofficially, coaches often communicate with new players directly. However, this type of communication is considered inappropriate by most institutions.
It is important for students to understand that their high school coach is not supposed to influence them to commit to a particular school.
Even if NCAA contact regulations state that coaches cannot contact you yet, coaches will frequently find a method to contact student-athletes they are interested in. They could get in touch with your high school or club coach. They may also request that the institution transmit general school information. Finally, coaches have been known to check university websites and other sources of information on students.
In addition to these methods, coaches will often call or send emails simply to check in on their athletes. These contacts are not considered recruiting visits but rather opportunities for the coach to stay in touch with their players through positive messages and reminders of upcoming events.
Sometimes coaches will even travel to see an athlete play in person. This visit is usually only done as a last resort when there is no other way to reach the player. If this happens to you, make sure you follow all of the rules regarding contact between coaches and players. Some schools do not allow coaches to visit with you unless you are being recruited. Other schools may allow them to visit but must be notified in advance. Finally, some schools prohibit coaches from visiting at all during certain seasons or periods of time.
The main goal of a college coach is to find the best player available. To do so, they need to know who is playing what role on their team and how they are performing. They may also want to see how you fit into their program's future plans.
Receiving direct and personalized calls or emails at home about how you would be a good match for their program; having a coach come watch you perform at your home field/court/track/pool; or receiving an invitation to take an official visit to the college...all are signs that you're on the radar of a lot of different programs as they search for candidates that fit with their culture and style of coaching.
The head coach or recruiter should let you know if you are currently enrolled in or have previously attended their school. If you are not sure whether you are wanted, ask them directly. There should be no guessing games about what is going on with your recruitment.
If you aren't sure if you're wanted but think maybe you could use some help getting back into school, check out our guide on how to get your college degree online.
NCAA coaches must follow tight recruiting restrictions regarding when and how they can speak with recruits. Keep in mind that top college coaches are swamped with material from prospects all around the world. Whatever you do, getting their attention will be difficult at times.
In addition to coaching games, which most schools do, coaches can speak with recruits only during the following times: before school starts, during school breaks, after games or practices when there is no game being played, and right before signing day. If a coach sends mail to a prospect, it has to include his/her name and contact information. The mail cannot be promotional in nature.
Coaches are also prohibited from contacting recruits through their parents, siblings, children, agents, or friends. This rule is in place to prevent interference with the recruitment process. If someone other than the coach does contact a recruit, this could result in disciplinary action against the program.
Finally, coaches cannot call recruits derogatory names, use insulting language, or threaten them with failure if they don't sign with their school.
If a coach violates any of these rules, he/she will usually be suspended by their university. A school's reputation is important therefore any breach of policy needs to be dealt with severely.
In conclusion, yes, a college coach can talk to a recruit.
According to NCAA recruiting guidelines for high school juniors, coaches can phone, text, email, DM, and contact players via most private, digital communication channels. In other words, high school seniors who have been diligent in their recruitment should have a busy year ahead of them responding to college recruiters' letters.
The only limitation on how often you can contact a prospect is whether it constitutes "impermissible inducements" under the law. For example, if a coach tells a player that he or she will be given a full scholarship if they attend a certain school, then that is an impermissible inducement and can result in jail time if reported by the player. The same goes for any promise of academic credits, on-campus housing, or other benefits that are not available to everyone. Generally speaking, recruits can be contacted no more than five times per year.
It is important to note that just because you can contact a prospect does not mean that you should. If a player doesn't want to be recruited then it isn't worth your time to pursue him or her. Also remember that the more you contact a prospect the less time there is for him or her to respond positively. High school players need time to think about what schools are interested in them and make a decision about continuing their recruitment. Do not call or write repeatedly if all you want is for them to tell you yes so you can move on to the next prospect.