Little brother makes its biggest forward move in years

Cortney Williams, a 2014 grad from Westside High in SC, can be contacted by DII on June 15 this year.

The commotion you hear in the background is a collective “hoorah” rising up from the athletic offices of NCAA Division II schools across America who received a huge boost this week when it was announced that the division, far too often referred to as DI’s little brother, has taken strident measures to secure a recruiting advantage over their flashier counterparts. By a full year, DII has moved up their contact date with prospects making June 15 following recruits’ sophomore year the “go” date.

This will no doubt catch the attention of coaches in Division I who may press for similar legislation in the future, but that is another story. For now, concentrating on the good news for DII coaches, prospects will be able to receive unfettered contact from coaches, except for legislated, non-communicative periods. For instance, in previous years DII coaches, like their DI peers, were only permitted to make contact with a recruit once per week. Now, they are free to reach out to prospects as often as they might like. This will present Division II coaches a distinct advantage in developing relationships with high school student-athletes and their families.

Moreover, the new rule will doubtlessly press freshmen, sophomores and their parents to get serious at least a year earlier about their college scholarship possibilities. If there is a downside, detractors will say that it will most likely push the student-athletes into the highly competitive recruiting fray earlier than necessary.

At National Scouting Report, we see upsides for both DII coaches and prospects. Certainly, on the coaches’ end, doors will open to key prospects that may not have otherwise entertained DII options. For the athletes, the white noise in the background about DI will be somewhat muffled because the new legislation will result in far more opportunities for unofficial visits to DII campuses thus providing recruits with an add-on year to mull over the DII Option and give them a broader perspective. And, who knows, perhaps we will see prospects become more enthusiastic of the DII model which traditionally comes with fewer obstructions to pursue academic and social interests than the high-pressure aspects and expectations associated with DI athletics.

The topic will be pursued and written about ad nausea over the upcoming months, but really it boils down to a simple matter of leveling the recruiting playing field, pulling DII coaches closer to prospects and vice versa resulting in, hopefully, fewer prospects incapable of contributing to DI programs discovering an appreciation for DII schools where they may be able to contribute immediately.


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