New NCAA Recruiting Rule

The NCAA approved landmark early recruiting legislation for men's and women's lacrosse in April 2017 to limit contact and communication with college coaches before September 1 of a prospective student-athlete's junior year in high school.


Early recruiting undermines the NCAA intercollegiate athletic model and the importance of being a "student-athlete".


Early recruiting is detrimental to the physical, emotional and mental "well-being" of a student-athlete.


Early recruiting lacks transparency with student-athletes "committing" years before the college admissions process.


Early recruiting creates a wealth disparity barrier that disadvanatges student-athletes who cannot afford to be recruited.

Women’s lacrosse is breaking barriers by pressuring 8th-grade girls to “commit” to one of the most accelerated early recruiting processes in college sports today.  Lacrosse recruiting starts in middle school and requires year-round training to showcase for college coaches.  Early recruiting undermines the role of sports in education and prioritizes a student’s athletic ability over academics, years before the college admissions process.


Enabled by loopholes in the NCAA rules, student-athletes can verbally “commit” at any age.  This unregulated process lacks transparency and often consists of an exploding “offer” which pressures a student-athlete to make a premature decision about where to attend college.  College counselors who traditionally provided guidance on this important decision have been replaced by club coaches who often act as agents and operate outside the boundaries of educational institutions.

Driven by the continued expansion of women’s lacrosse teams to comply with Title IX, a university arms race to showcase prestige and wealth, female athletes are in demand by even the elite academic institutions.  While parents, coaches and administrators acknowledge early recruiting is detrimental to the “well-being” of student-athletes, they all actively participate.  Parents make a significant investment in their daughter’s athletic career and they expect a return.  But the reality is that only a low percentage will be recruited and even fewer will receive any scholarship.


Sports is a business that is destroying amateurism.  When lacrosse, a non-revenue generating sport, is showcasing early recruiting with teenage girls, the intercollegiate model and ideals of a “student-athlete” have broken down.  It is no secret that sports can help with college admissions, but early recruiting disadvantages student-athletes who cannot afford to participate in the process or afford the high cost of education.  For universities who value diversity, wealth disparity is a compelling reason to evaluate their internal recruiting policies and support the pending NCAA legislation.


The NCAA is currently reviewing early recruiting and will vote on this issue in April 2017.  While multiple sports have submitted different proposals, women’s lacrosse has set forth the most comprehensive legislation which if approved could help to mitigate the problem and begin to address the role of sports in education.  


Early Recruit:  The Role of Sports in Education


Lexi Ledoyen, #23 Capital Club Lacrosse, carries the ball in the midfield with an injury on her left knee at the Nike Elite G8 girls lacrosse tournament (2015).  The green band on Lexi's left arm shows she has committed to Syracuse as an early recruit. © Early Recruiting - Equity IX - SportsOgram


Lindsay Ernst runs in the 2017 NYC Marathon at mile 25 with a huge smile on her face and arms lined in victory.  © Equity IX - SportsOgram - photo by Leigh Ernst Friestedt NYC Marathon - Equity IX - SportsOgram
Kerrin Maurer, #9 Duke, top center with eye black under her goggles carries the ball in midfield against Syracuse midfielder at the ACC Women's Lacrosse Championship (2015).  Maurer was a top player from St. Anthony's and early recruit to Duke women's lac Early Recruiting - Equity IX - SportsOgram
Gregory and Annabelle Fowlkes race their Indian sailboat at the Constable Cup in Nantucket.  Gregory is wearing a light blue hat with a matching Indian long sleeve t-shirt. Annabelle has a yellow hat and is hiking out of the boat.  © 2017 Equity IX - Spor Sailing - Equity IX - SportsOgram


Annie Dyson, #14 Capital Lacrosse Club, is an early recruit at UVA.  Dyson showcases in front of top college coaches at the Nike Elite G8 girls lacrosse tournament (2015).  The green arm band on her left bicep shows that she has committed early to college Early Recruiting - Equity IX - SportsOgram

Leigh Ernst Friestedt

Leigh Ernst Friestedt - CEO and Founder of Equity IX and SportsOgram - sports photography (lacrosse, sailing, tennis, marathons) and analyzes key issues in sports including early recruiting, NCAA rules, gender equity and Title IX. Leigh Ernst Friestedt - Equity IX, LLC
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