In an effort to regulate recruiting, college coaches must adhere to the NCAA recruiting calendar for their respective sport. In all, there are four different periods that affect recruiting: Contact, Evaluation, Quiet and Dead periods.
The contact period (in most cases there are multiple depending on the sport) is when coaches may make unlimited phone calls to prospective student-athletes. They may also make in-person contact on campus and off-campus. During contact periods, coaches will often visit the homes or high schools of prospective student-athletes.
During an evaluation period, a college coach is restricted to simple observing of a prospective student-athlete. In-person contact is not permitted at off-campus locations. Telephone calls during the evaluation period are limited to one call per week, per prospective student-athlete, with a week defined as Sunday through Saturday.
A quiet period restricts in-person contact with prospective student-athletes. During this period, in-person contact is only permissible within the confines of the institution’s campus. Telephone calls made during the quiet period are restricted to one per week, per prospective student-athlete.
The dead period is often the most misunderstood recruiting period by fans and recruits. A dead period prohibits in-person contact at any location between a coach and a prospective student-athlete. However, telephone calls are still permitted at a rate of one per week, per prospective student-athlete. In addition to telephone calls, coaches are also allowed to write recruits using e-mail or printed letters. At no time is a coach allowed to text message a prospective student-athlete, regardless of whether the prospective student-athlete sends a text message to a coach.
There are many exceptions within college recruiting calendars. Two in particular surround official visits and National Signing Day. When a prospective student-athlete is making an official visit to an institution, members of that institution’s coaching staff may make unlimited telephone calls to the prospective student-athlete in the five days leading up to the official visit. Also, during the National Signing Day period for football, coaches may make unlimited telephone calls to prospective student-athletes in the 48 hours prior to 7:00am on National Signing Day and the 48 hours following 7:00am on National Signing Day. In all other sports that acknowledge National Signing Day, unlimited phone calls may be made in the 48 hours following 7:00am on the first day of a National Letter of Intent signing period.