Off Limits Part 2 – Its Official! No NCAA College Lacrosse Recruiting Prior to Junior Year Of High School!

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.

Off Limits! The “Scourge” Of College Lacrosse Early Recruiting And The Pending Vote To Finally Stop It

Boys and girls are being recruited for college lacrosse as early at 7th grade, some signing letters of intent before even reaching high school.  It is wrong on so many levels and it is exerting negative effects not just in the sport of lacrosse, but across the spectrum of youth athletics.  College coaches often dislike this practice as much as anyone, but are loathe to stop because they feel that if they do not do the same, they may miss out on the the next great blue chip athlete that may be program changer.

US Lacrosse CEO Steve Stenersen has branded the early recruiting epidemic as a “scourge” that is damaging to the sport of lacrosse (and youth sports in general).  Lacrosse participation has leveled off.  Single sport specialization is at an all time high, as are overuse injuries that are clearly associated with single sport specialization at a young age.  70 percent of youth athletes are quitting organized sports by the age of 13, and college transfers are at an all time high.

Beyond these facts, the pressure being placed on young athletes to perform is unprecedented and is zapping the fun out of lacrosse and other sports.  While a minority of parents relish in the notion that they are spending crazy amounts of money to keep their child playing year round on multiple state and national club teams, the financial strain and time commitment that cuts into precious family time is troubling to many others.  Look no further than the high divorce rates of families that commit all of their resources and time to making their child a singing or acting star to see why such a course is not healthy.

Says WLCA president Alicia Groveston, “We are at a tipping point….Some sanity could be restored to the recruiting process.”  What she is referring to is NCAA DI Council Proposal 2016-26, the vote of which if passed, would ban all college coach contact with youth and high school athletes until September 1 of their junior year of high school.  The vote will take place when the Council meets April 13-14 2017.

If the measure does not pass, it may not come up again for consideration for another 2 years or longer.  For the sake of the kids and the sport we love, let us hope good sense and a commitment to the greater good prevails.

Dr. Roger Welton is a practicing veterinarian and well regarded media personality through a number of tpics 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.