The successful recruiting of high school baseball players is an integral part of the process for colleges to field competitive teams. The NCAA has strict rules in effect to govern the recruitment process, and college coaches are limited in how often and when they can contact a high school baseball player.
Reasons for Rules
College recruitment rules are in place to protect young athletes, and to try and create a level playing field for all colleges. Offers of gifts and false promises, and distracting athletes from their high school studies are some of the reasons rules were instituted. Laying out strict guidelines also enables schools that may not have as many resources to have their turn in the process.
Freshmen and Sophomore Years
During the freshmen and sophomore years in high school, a college baseball coach is not allowed to phone a prospect at all or send any written information that has to do with recruiting. Athletes may phone a coach, and the coach is allowed to accept the call, but he cannot call back if a message is left. These rules apply until September 1st of a player's junior year in high school.
Junior and Senior Years
High school baseball players are permitted to make visits to college campuses to talk with coaches during their junior year after September 1st, but it must stay on campus. Once the junior year is completed and July 1st has passed, a coach may phone a player or his parents once a week. The player may phone a coach as often as he likes. These rules apply throughout the senior year.
The NCAA sets certain blocks of time aside each year when it is permissible for coaches to contact athletes. These blocks of time are organized into a "contact period" during which coaches may communicate to the extent the rules allow, a "quiet period" when contact is restricted to campus visits, and a "dead period" when no contact is allowed. The NCAA Division 1 Baseball Recruiting Calendar — which runs from August 1st, 2010 to July 31st, 2011 — shows contact periods from August 1st to 31st, September 10th to November 7th, March 1st to April 10th and April 15th to July 31st. Quiet periods are marked from September 1st to 9th, November 12th to January 5th and January 10th to February 28th. Dead periods are November 8th to 11th, January 6th to 10th and April 11th to 14th.