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Central Penn Field Hockey

Central Penn Field Hockey

NCAA Rules



My daughter thinks she might want to play field hockey in college OR you think she may want to play in college and want to keep her options open. Now what?

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is a non-profit organization which regulates athletes of 1,281 North American institutions and conferences.  It also organizes the athletic programs of many colleges and universities in the United States and Canada and helps more than 480,000 college student-athletes who compete annually in college sports. - Wikipedia.   It endeavors to develop and maintain standards that ensure fairness and student-athlete safety throughout their participating members.

New Rules effective May 1, 2019

Correspondence (emails) or Private Messages:  Nothing prior to Junior year of high school. Contact is allowed only after June 15 of Sophomore year (rising Junior). Do not expect to receive any responses from coaches. However, you may still receive marketing invites to their camps (along with everyone else who has expressed interest in that school team).

Incoming Phone Calls (Athlete to Coach): Coaches will not accept your call prior to Junior year of high school. Contact is allowed only after June 15 of Sophomore year (rising Juniors). Do not expect a response or return call if you leave a message.

Outgoing Phone Calls (Coach to Athlete): Coaches cannot call you prior to your Junior year of high school. Contact is allowed only after June 15 of Sophomore year (rising Juniors).

Off Campus Contact: Not until August 1 before Junior year of high school.

Unofficial Visits: You can no longer visit the campus and introduce yourself to, or meet with, the coach until August 1 before Junior year of high school.

Official Visits: An official visit cannot be offered to you until June 15 of your Sophomore year and your visit must wait until August 1 before Junior year of high school.

Verbal Offer (Commitment): This is “Not Legislated”. However, an offer or commitment should not take place until, or after, June 15 of Sophomore year (rising Junior).

What’s this mean to you?

-- Freshman and Sophomores are off limits for any kind of communications, however, at this time, a DI college coach can tell a club or high school coach that they like a specific player and that they look forward to get in touch with her (at the legal age limit). Note: they can no longer ask for messages or emails to be forwarded to a prospect through an intermediary, like a club coach or agent - they only can say they are interested.

-- Student athletes who do not meet the age thresholds above, can attend camps with college coaches, but can have no specific recruiting discussions about themselves or the coaches school or program. Only general educational recruiting information can be presented at these camps.

-- You may see more camps operating the first week of August to take advantage of the August 1 “Unofficial Visits” start date, which will allow rising Juniors to have recruiting conversations on campus.


For recruiting purposes, in summary, the NCAA requires that all Division I and II coaches MUST WAIT until June 15th of a player’s sophomore year to initiate contact and to communicate face to face.  Prior to this, coaches are allowed to only communicate via emails regarding camps.   They can only talk to a player on the phone and only if the player initiates the call.   If you attend a camp, they can talk to you during instruction time but CAN NOT talk to you or give feedback about your skills or their school until after 9/1 of your junior year. 

To hit home the odds of playing collegiate field hockey keep in mind that for the 2016-2017 year, there were over 60,000 high school FH players. Of that, just over 6,000 moved on to the college level. That’s just under 10% of US high school players that make it to the next level. Additionally, college coaches recruit ANOTHER 10% from outside of the U.S. Only 2% of US players play at the Division I level and even then, their average financial benefit is approx. $17,000/yr. SOURCE:

A collegiate player must LOVE her sport and be a strong student. It can be a full-time job on top of full-time academics so it is a delicate dance a parent/coach must endure to nurture a player who may not even know what she wants to do when she grows up.

NCAA NEWS (November 2018)

Once a player verbally commits to a D1 school, they will be asked to sign a National Letter of Intent (NLI) at some point during their senior year.  The following is a summary of new guidelines that take effect November 2018 that are also expected to impact recruiting timelines at D2 and D3 schools.

"Starting in the 2018-19 school year, significant updates to the signing period rules are going to speed up the timeline for seniors looking to sign with a school. In the past, there was an early signing period (usually in November) followed by a break over the holidays (dead period) before signing NLIs resumed in the spring during the regular signing period. Starting this year, all athletes outside of football and men’s and women’s D1 basketball players can begin signing scholarships on November 14, 2018, and continue to sign anytime through August 1, 2019.

While much of the recruiting process happens long before November of your senior year, the fact that athletes will be ending their recruiting by signing NLIs earlier means recruiting in the lower divisions will likely speed up as well. In the past, NCAA D2, D3 and NAIA schools would wait for D1 programs to complete their recruiting classes before ramping up their signings. Now that D1 schools will be completing their signings earlier, expect all other division levels to be busy over the holidays and early in 2019 instead of mid to late spring" -


What's the difference between an UNOFFICIAL and OFFICIAL VISIT?

Any college visit is considered an UNOFFICIAL visit until September 1st of your junior year and is the player's financial responsibility.  An unofficial visit requires all costs associated with the trip to be paid by the player's family; the school can not pay for any portion of the visit.  After September 1st of junior year, the college can offer to pay for the cost of the visit to campus including transportation, meals and hotel charges.  For more information on the different types of visit and how to prepare for a college visit, check out the links below.

Your guide to UNOFFICIAL visits 

Everything you need to know about an OFFICIAL visit:


All athletes must eventually register with the NCAA to declare their intent to be a college athlete.  This is usually completed at the beginning of a player's junior year.

The NCAA has established academic guidelines that every college-bound athlete must adhere.   Every student-athlete must take a certain amount of classes, certain types of classes and maintain minimal GPAs.  Most HS students in college-ready curriculums will meet the NCAA requirements.  However, if you have a unique schooling path, you may want to consult at the NCAA guidelines sooner rather than later.   

All students must also take either the SATs or ACTs.  The NCAA has minimal scoring requirements for both tests that have a correlation to a students GPA.  For more information on this see the link above.


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