On April 14, 2017, the NCAA Division I Council voted to prohibit contact with prospective lacrosse athletes, including offers and commitments, until Sept. 1 of their junior year of high school.
High school coaches from both public and private schools said the new initiative will slow down the recruitment process, giving college prospect athletes more time to evaluate their options at the next level. It especially benefits late-bloomers, who are currently left competing for fewer roster spots with many of them already having been filled by underclassmen.
“I think the general consensus is, it’s a good idea, to let’s slow this down,” said Ireton Coach Rick Sofield,“What it does do is, for those really elite blue chip athletes, it means they gotta wait. I don’t know that really hurts them in any way. In fact it probably helps them without even knowing it.” Sofield adds, “What freshman knows for sure what college they’re going to? They haven’t even finished algebra.”
In addition to not necessarily having a feel for what school a young student athlete may want to attend, not allowing college recruiters access to young athletes will reduce the pressure to perform and enhance their enjoyment of the sport of lacrosse. Thinking back to my own playing days, I could not fathom what it would have been like to play the sport knowing that whether or not I made a college roster depended on my performance at the prepubescent age of 14 (I was a late bloomer).
I am cautiously optimistic about this new development, but the moment new rules are imposed, there is often near instantaneous pursuit to find loopholes to get around them. I will be interested to not only see the complete language of the resolution, but seeing how its logistical enforcement plays out.
Once thing is for certain, this vote is most certainly one big step in the right direction.
Dr. Roger Welton is a practicing veterinarian and well regarded media personality through a number of topics and platforms. In addition to being passionate about integrative veterinary medicine for which he is a nationally renowned expert, Dr. Welton was also an accomplished college lacrosse player and remains to this day very involved in the sport. He is president of Maybeck Animal Hospital , runs the successful veterinary/animal health blogs Web-DVM and Dr. Roger’s Holistic Veterinary Care, and fulfills his passion for lacrosse through his lacrosse and sport blog, The Creator’s Game.