The NCAA has adjusted its rules in regards to college hockey recruiting, now allowing coaches to contact prospective players Jan. 1 of their sophomore years. That's 5 1/2 months earlier than the previous rule, when coaches had to wait until June 15.
The rule change was based around the idea NCAA coaches can start recruiting players prior to the OHL and QMJHL drafts. Under the old rules, coaches could not reach out to players prior to the draft, sometimes allowing Canadian major junior teams to get their foot in the door before colleges coaches ever had a chance to speak to a player.
According to College Hockey INC., the new legislation also removes limits on the number of telephone calls, emails, social media direct messages and text messages that coaches can send to those prospective student-athletes beginning Jan. 1 of their grade 10 year.
Will the rule change have any effect positively for college hockey? Probably not.
The contact rule has been easily avoided for a long time. While changing the date will make things easier for college hockey recruiters, it's not going to be something that is going to change the landscape dramatically.
The rules say that prospects prior to Jan. 1 of their sophomore years must contact NCAA coaches directly if they are interested in their school. Coaches have easily gotten around this by talking to coaches or advisors of prospective recruits and suggesting they have a player call them if it's prior to the date.
So, basically, I don't think anything will change. Other than the fact an NCAA recruiter can now go directly to the prospective recruit 5 1/2 months earlier instead of having to go around the rules.
There's also the fact that the WHL Bantam Draft still takes place prior to the Jan. 1 date, meaning the rule change only potentially impacts 2/3 of the CHL leagues.
Good on the NCAA for making the change, but, let's be honest, it really doesn't mean much.
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