High school coach reacts to new NCAA hockey recruiting rules

April 19, 2019 06:38 PM

Division I colleges will have to wait longer to recruit high school male hockey athletes. The NCAA made the decision Friday in Indianapolis.

Currently, coaches are allowed to reach out as early as they want, even while an athlete is still in middle school.


The Division I Council has now decided calls, texts and unofficial visits to schools will have to wait until Jan. 1 of a hockey player’s sophomore year. Young men will not be able to go on official visits or receive offers until Aug. 1 before their junior year.

“I think this is a step in the right direction,” said Chris Carroll, Blaine’s head hockey coach.

KSTP spoke to Carroll in Fogarty Ice Arena, where pictures of graduates turned hockey greats line the wall.

“Nick Bjugstad was a Mr. Hockey, Riley Tufte was a Mr. Hockey,” Carroll said. “Those guys are first round NHL picks who committed during ninth, tenth grade.”

RELATED: College recruiting has changed and continues to evolve

While he said the early attention helped launch those young stars, recruitment has also become a burden.

“It’s earlier and earlier, I mean we've had kids committed to a college before they've even stepped foot on a high school program,” said Carroll. “That pressure at such a young age, it sort of steals some of the joy from the game. These kids at ninth, tenth grade, they don’t even have their driver's license and they're trying to make decisions about where to go to college.”

It’s unclear how the new regulations will affect the University of Minnesota. A spokesperson for the hockey program told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS they had no idea it was coming.

Coaches for the hockey programs at St. Cloud State and Minnesota State University at Mankato also declined our interview requests.

Bemidji State Hockey coach Tom Serratore is welcoming the new rules, calling them an “upside” and “good for the sport”.

There are different dates for when college coaches can start contacting high school students in other sports.  The dates below are all during a high school recruit's junior year, or before it in the case of men's basketball.

He said it will reduce the number commitments that fall through and will give both players and coaches time to make the right decision.

He said, “People are going to be more confident”.

According to 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS Sports Anchor Chris Long, the early recruitment trend started about a decade ago.

“It used to be seniors in high school would announce where they were going to college," Long said. “Then juniors, then sophomores, then freshmen and eight graders and peewees and Bantams saying 'I’m committed to such and such a college' and it just kind of got away.”

The recruiting regulations take effect after the close of the Division I Board of Directors meeting on May 1.

It’s unclear what the penalty will be if recruiters violate the new rules. An NCAA spokesperson told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS there is no base penalty and will vary case by case.

She also confirmed the new rules will not be retroactive. 

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Callan Gray

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