Here are some key college sports recruiting terms for any potential college athlete to learn as he or she goes through the college sports recruiting process.
Blue Chip: Blue chip refers to a highly sought after student-athlete; usually a student-athlete who is among the top players in his/her position coming out of high school.
Calendars: Coaches and their associates are restricted to certain times during the year when they can contact players, and in what way this contact is made. Calendar dates include contact periods, dead periods, evaluation periods and quiet periods.
Camps: There are two types of camps: instructional and showcase. Instructional camps are 3-8 week sessions where players undergo intensive training on improving their game. Showcase camps are usually held by universities where prospective recruits display their athletic abilities to coaches as part of the recruiting process.
Clearinghouse: Formerly known as the NCAA Initial-Eligibility Clearinghouse, the NCAA Eligibility Center is the first step in the recruitment process. The Eligibility Center handles all inquiries regarding an individual’s initial-eligibility status. The Eligibility Center also maintains and processes all of the initial eligibility certifications.
Combines: Combines are a camp or clinic where players perform various physical exercises to rate their physical fitness. Scores from combine tests are sent to football programs for evaluating the player as a prospective recruit. Combines as a measuring tool are growing in popularity and effectiveness in the recruiting process.
Commitment: An oral or verbal commit is a non-binding agreement between a student-athlete and prospective school. While it is tentatively understood that the student-athlete will accept the scholarship offer and attend the school, he/she is free to explore offers with other institutions until a letter of commitment has been signed.
Contact: Contact includes face-to-face interaction between a college coach and a prospective student-athlete or his/her parents.
Contact period: The contact period is the time designated in the recruiting calendar when college coaches may make in-person, off-campus recruiting contacts and evaluations.
Dead period: The dead period is the time designated in the recruiting calendar when college coaches are restricted from making in-person, off-campus recruiting contacts and evaluations.
Evaluation: An evaluation is when a prospective coach or recruiting agent assesses a student-athlete’s academic or athletics ability. Evaluations usually involve a coach or recruiter observing a game or practice.
Evaluation period: The evaluation period is the time designated in the recruiting calendar when college coaches and authorized staff are permitted to make off-campus evaluations of a prospective student-athlete’s academic and playing abilities. Evaluations usually involve a coach or recruiter observing a game or practice. In-person, off-campus recruiting contact during evaluations is prohibited.
Grayshirt: A term used to describe a student-athlete who delays initial enrollment in a collegiate institution to the winter or spring term. Grayshirting usually occurs when a student-athlete is injured before the start of the academic year, forgoes classes and practice to join the team once he/she has recuperated.
National Letter of Intent: An NLI is an official agreement between a student-athlete and a prospective school stating the agreement to attend that institution for one academic year in exchange for athletics aid. Once a student-athlete has signed with a prospective school, he/she can no longer be contacted by prospective schools for recruitment.
National Signing Day: The first Wednesday in February is the official signing day for high school football. Following this date, student-athletes may sign letters of intent with prospective schools to attend that institution for one academic year in exchange for athletics aid.
Official visit: Official visits include any visit to a prospective school by a student-athlete paid for by the school. Official visits include schools paying for transportation, room and meals and entertainment.
Prospective student-athlete: A student-athlete becomes a prospective student-athlete when he/she starts ninth-grade classes; or if before the student-athlete’s ninth-grade year, a college gives the athlete, his relatives or his friends any financial aid or other benefits that the college does not provide to students generally
Quiet period: The quiet period is the time designated in the recruiting calendar when college coaches may make in-person recruiting contacts only on the coach’s school campus.
Recruit: A student-athlete is considered a recruit when he/she engages in off-campus, in-person contact with a coach; receives a telephone call from a coach more than once; is issued a National Letter of Intent from a prospective school; or makes an official visit to a prospective school.
Redshirt: Also known as a “Fifth Year Senior,” redshirt refers to a student-athlete who extends four seasons of play over five years. A redshirt player typically sits out of games for a season, while still attending practices and classes.
Unofficial visit: Unofficial visits occur when student-athletes pay their own expenses when visiting a prospective school, including transportation, room, meals and entertainment.
Walk-on: This term refers to a student-athlete who plays and trains with a collegiate team without an athletic scholarship.