'Everyone is Watching' on Eve of Sept. 1 Recruiting Contact


This article originally appeared on “Behind the Whistle,” the official blog of the IWLCA, and is republished here with permission. It has been edited for consistency and style. 

You know that feeling, when all eyes are on you? As Sept. 1 approaches, college coaches, administrators, media and the NCAA are all watching to see how the lacrosse community handles the first cycle of delayed recruiting contact under the new NCAA Division I lacrosse recruiting legislation.

You may think we are exaggerating. But we are not. The number of comments about this new legislation from coaches in other sports (“I wish we had that rule”), college administrators (“How will this be enforced?”), the doubters and the believers alike confirm they are all speculating about the new rule. They all are watching. The public consensus seems to be, “Let’s see how this goes.”

And that moment is here. This Friday marks the first Sept. 1 when direct recruiting contact between coaches and prospective student-athletes who are now juniors may begin. What kind of moment will this be?

The fear? That Sept. 1 will be a mad rush — a blitzkrieg of phone calls, emails and text messages, a scramble to visit schools and a rush to secure verbal commitments. Some nonchalantly surmise, “Of course it will be a mad rush.”

No, actually, it does not have to be that way.

We urge everyone to approach this Sept. 1 with excitement and respect, remembering why the legislation was introduced in the first place — to have more time to make this important decision.

The goal of recruiting is to find the best match. This takes time and research. This new recruiting legislation was intended to give both sides more time to evaluate the potential of this match.

Committing to a school is a HUGE decision, arguably one of the most important decisions a student-athlete will make in his or her life. This decision should be an informed one, made with confidence and clarity of mind. Not rushed, harried or pressured.

Prospective student-athletes, think about waking up at this school every day, going to classes there, going to practice with this coach. Really try to envision it and ask yourself, “Is this where I want to go? If I don’t ever get to play or if I get injured and can’t play, is this where I want to be?”

Parents, this is a moment for you to be the voice of reason and support. There is much more to a school than its name (and the car sticker). This is the time to sit down and discuss the options with your child and really contemplate what would be the best match for him or her. Try to avoid fueling any sense of rush and pressure. Listen. Most parents want what is best for their children, but often times figuring out what is best is not easy or automatic. Whoever said parenting was easy? At the very least, take a step back each night and pause. Think about your child’s options and his or her decision-making process in a quiet place. And remember it will be your child (not you) who will actually be attending the school and honoring all of the team commitments.

Coaches, bringing a student-athlete (and his or her family) into your program is a HUGE decision, arguably one of the most important decisions you make. It just might feel “routine” because you make these decisions every year. It is not routine. It is critical to the culture of your program and to your job security. You should know very well who you are inviting into your house, your world, before you rush to extend an offer. And be reasonable with your deadlines. Doing so is both acting with professionalism and is in your best interest.

This is a leadership moment for the lacrosse community. We have the chance to demonstrate how change can be positive. We put the brakes on the tide of early recruiting to restore some sanity to the process. Now is not the time to lose our minds because the gates of communication are opening with this year’s junior class.

Everyone is watching. Now is our time to shine.

— IWLCA Division I Legistlation Committee

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