Recruitment: Responding to Contact

Responding to Contact from Student, Representative of a Student, Potential Student-Athletes, & When Notification is not Required

NAIA Bylaws Article II, Section D, Item 1 states,
“If, during the school year or summer vacation period, the athletics director, faculty athletics representative, or coach of a member institution is contacted or becomes aware of contact by an athlete who enrolled at another institution of higher learning (two-year or four-year), it shall be the responsibility of the contacted institution (athletics director or faculty athletics representative) to notify, in writing, the institution (athletics director or faculty athletics representative) where the athlete is presently enrolled within 10 days following the first contact.

A coach or another representative of a member institution shall not initiate contact with an athlete who has enrolled at another four-year institution. It is permissible to contact a student who is currently enrolled at a two-year institution once the student completes the academic year in which the student utilizes his/her first season of competition.

A coach or another representative of a member institution may respond to a contact by an athlete only after the enrolled athlete’s institution (athletics director or faculty athletics representative) has been notified as prescribed above.”

Essentially, this restricts coaching staffs at NAIA member institutions from having any contact with students enrolled at other collegiate institutions, unless that contact is initiated by the student.  If a student initiates contact, the institution is required to notify the student’s current institution within 10 days. 

INTERPRETATION AND APPLICATION
The recruiting rules of the NAIA are based on ethics and common courtesy. The rules provide structure when it comes to enrolled student-athletes and the process that must be followed for a coach or administrator to discuss a possible transfer of that student to his/her institution. This interpretation will focus on how institutions should apply this regulation. Item 1 will be broken down into the elements necessary for proper application.

1. If an athletic director, faculty athletic representative or coach is contacted or made aware of contact by enrolled student athlete enrolled at another institution of higher learning (two-year or four-year)

A. Contact can include a phone call, phone message, email, letter or any other form of notification from the student to the administrator or coach. It will also be considered contact if someone outside the athletics department at the institution notifies the administrator or coach of a possible transfer student.

B. Contact will also be a phone call, phone message, email, letter or any other form notification from a parent, relative, friend of the family, coach, or acquaintance on behalf of the student.

C. An insitution cannot initiate contact with a student athlete attending a two-year college, until that athlete has completed a full academic school year in which that athlete was charged a season for playing. 

2. It shall be the responsibility of the contacted institution (athletic director or faculty athletic representative) to notify in writing the institution (athletic director or faculty athletic representative) where the athlete is presently enrolled or if the summer vacation period, was enrolled the previous term, within 10 days following the first contact.

As soon as any institutional representative is contacted all communication must cease immediately with that student or his/her representative regarding a possible transfer or the prospects of that student participating at the contacted institution upon transfer. The statement should be, “Thank you for your contact but I cannot speak with you any further until proper NAIA procedure is followed.”

A. If a coach or other athletic personnel is contacted then he/she must immediately notify the athletics director or faculty athletic representative of the contact. The athletics director or faculty athletic representative has 10 days in which to notify in writing (email or letter) the athletics director or faculty athletics representative at the institution where the student is currently enrolled or participated for within the last two or three terms that a representative has been contacted by this student.

B. Notification is not required when an enrolled student, upon being informed that notification will be sent to his/her current institution, elects to stop all communication with the potential transfer institution after the initial contact. Notification must be sent if, at a future time, the student again contacts the potential transfer institution.

C. Notification is not required when an initial email, voicemail and/or text is left by a enrollled student-athlete for a member of the athletics department, but such communication is not responded to, addressed, or returned. These communications are not considered communications requiring notification under Article II, Section D. If at any point the prospective student-athlete does make contact with the athletics director, faculty athletics representative, or coach which is not ignored in the same manner described above, notification must be made in writing to the prospective student’s enrolled institution within 10 days of the contact.

3. A coach or another representative of a member institution may respond to a contact by an athlete only after the enrolled athlete’s institution (athletics director or faculty athletics representative) has been notified as prescribed above.

A. Once the athletics director or faculty athletic representative has notified the other institution in writing, then representatives of the institution may speak with the student about transferring or the prospects of that student participating at their institution upon transfer.

B. The institution does not have to have a release (written or verbal) from the other institution to talk to this student. The institution has fulfilled its ethical obligation under this regulation by notifying the other institution in writing of the contact.

4. A coach or another representative of a member institution shall not initiate contact with an athlete who has enrolled at another institution.

After reading the preceding elements of this regulation, this mandate is self-explanatory. In no way, shape, or form should a coach or any other representative initiate contact with an enrolled student-athlete about the possibility of that student transferring or the prospects of that student participating for that institution upon transfer. Item 3 within Article II, Section D describes the ramifications of violating the recruiting regulations. If an institution violates this bylaw they are to self-report. If an NAIA institution is aware of a violation or a possible violation they are to follow the procedure found under Article VI, Section B, item 3 of the NAIA Bylaws for reporting this information (listed below). Failure to self-report or to report another institution will also be investigated by the Conduct and Ethics Committee

Responding to Contact from a Student

Case: An NAIA coach attempted to recruit a graduating high school senior this summer. The student decided to stay close to home and enrolled at a local school. The student called the coach the following fall expressing a desire to transfer. Because the coach had been in contact with this student since high school, does the coach have an obligation to inform the student’s current institution of the renewed contact with the enrolled student?

Approved Ruling: Yes. The student in question is enrolled in an institution. The coach, therefore, cannot discuss the possibility of transferring (e.g. requirements, possible financial aid, team openings, etc.) until the athletics director or faculty athletics representative at the other institution has been notified in writing of the student’s declared interest in the NAIA coach’s institution. This notification to the other institution must be made within 10 days of contact.

Responding to a Representative of a Student

Approved Ruling: Contact made by another individual (e.g., parent, high school coach, roommate), on behalf of the student, should be treated in the same manner as contact from the student. Contact regarding transferring with any of these individuals must be reported in the manner outlined in the recruiting bylaws Article II, Section D.

Responding to a Potential Student-Athlete Not Currently Identified

Approved Ruling: If a potential student-athlete has identified at an institution of higher education but is not currently identified with another higher education institution, an NAIA coach will not be required to provide notice to the previous institution, provided, the registration period of the previous institution for the current academic term has passed. The NAIA coach and institution will bear the responsibility to ensure the student is not currently identified with any higher education institution. Identification of a student in a given term extends through to the registration period of the following term; for example, identification in the spring term extends through the summer.

Can a signed student talk to other schools?

Prospective students may communicate with an NAIA school even after signing a letter of intent with another institution. NAIA rules do not prohibit prospective or continuing students from contacting other institutions. However, an NAIA school, when contacted by a student enrolled at another institution, must provide written notification to the student’s current school within 10 days of the initial correspondence.