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Q1: Where can I find information on recruiting?
A1: You can find out information by contacting the NCAA directly. Their web site, http://www.ncaa.org (not .com), has extensive information for prospective student athletes. You can obtain phone numbers, download information, order publications, and search their handbooks and regulations. It is the complete and official resource for this type of information. The main page for eligibility and recruiting is located here. The Guide for the Prospective Student Athlete is an excellent place to start. It can be found at this link.
Q2: What is a National Letter Of Intent (NLI)?
A2: The National Letter of Intent (NLI) is administered by the Collegiate Commisioners Association, not the NCAA. It is described at their special web site. In "fans" terms, it is a formal acceptance of a scholarship offer, made under and bound by, standard rules and conditions. You can find more information here.
Q3: What is a "verbal commit"?
A3: In "fan's terms", this term is commonly refers to a verbal promise made by a prospective student athlete to an institution offering them a scholarship. This reportedly does not become binding until the National Letter of Intent is signed during the official signing period. Verbal commits are also sometimes called a "verbal" or an "oral commit".
Q4: When is the "signing period" for the 2023-2024 school years?
A4: The signing period for the 2023-2024 school year began on November 9th, 2022 and runs continuously through August 1st, 2023.
Q5: How many scholarships athletes can each team offer?
A5: Division 1 women's team may have a total of 12 athletes in any given year receiving some form of athletics-related scholarship. This includes athletes receiving partial support. Conferences may impose additional restrictions. Some scholarship offers may not be for a full four years, but rather for a single year or for the first and last years.
Men's teams are limited to 6.3 scholarship equivalents. For the men, this number represents a total budget that can be distributed to multiple athletes. It is measured in full scholarship (out of state) equivalents. Thus, 6.3 scholarships can stretch to 12 or more athletes. In addition, in-state athletes can be fully funded for far less than a full scholarship equivalent. The number available for award and the amount of the award varies by team and by year.
Similarly, Division II teams and less than fully funded Division I women's teams can divide their scholarships.
Q6: When does the recruiting period officially start?
A6: If you are a Prospective Student Athlete, please consult the NCAA Guide for the Prospective Student Athlete or the compliance office of your target college for more information and exact guidelines. In a series of reforms, new steps were instituted to help reduce early recruiting. For Women's gymnastics, this has shifted much of the contact until starting on June 15th between the Sophomore and Junior year, within incoming and outgoing telephone calls and electronic correspondence. In-person contact and all types of visits start on August 1st of the prospect's Junior year. See these guides for more information: link.
Q7: What is a "Dead Period" or "Quiet Period"
A7: A "Dead Period" or "Quiet Period" is a time frame when recruiting contact is otherwise suspending. It includes the initial week of the National Letter of Intent signing period, the month of December, the time period of the NCAA finals, and the 1st half of June. Please see these calendars for more information: link
Q8: What athletic skills do college recruiters look for in their prospects?
A9: For the women, there are no clear generalizations that can be made with regard to recruiting. However, in terms of athletic ability, we frequently hear college coaches express similar criteria in terms of skills. Besides a certain skill level, attributes such as natural athletic ability, good execution, clean lines, and excellent fitness are also valued in varying combinations by recruiters. Although the weighting of criteria may differ, in general, college coaches tend to value gymnasts that can already demonstrate 10.0 start value routines that also meet the minimum criteria for composition in the NCAA. These routines must also be competed with good consistency, good execution, good form and amplitude. The NCAA Code Modifications have significant differences from the Junior Olympic code, including a start value of 9.4 before bonus on uneven bars (UB), balance beam (BB) and floor exercise (FX).
Here are a few examples of skills sought by teams in the Top 36 nationally:
On vault, the Yurchenko Layout 1/1 and 1/2 have become commonplace. 10.0 start value vaults with saltos are preferred by the top teams, thus the Yurchenko 2/1 and 1 1/2 (aka 3/2), Pike Front 1/2, layout Kasamatsu and Pike Omelianchik have become attractive to recruiters, as long as they are done well.
On UB, a major release such as a Gienger, Tkachev, Hindorff or Jaeger plus another C (connected) or D release is viewed favorably. A D or E dismount is also desired, with a bonus combination into a C dismount the minimum difficulty required to avoid a compositional deduction in the NCAA.
On BB, a solid bhs-layout flight series or comparable plus another D salto or E dance skill is required. Other skills should yield a 10.0 start value under the NCAA rules. Leaps should be done with at least 180 degree split and good height. Movements should be done confidently and consistency in hitting your series is important.
On FX, the athlete preferably should show at least at least one D value salto, plus a second pass with a combination of a C salto plus bonus. In addition, the last pass must contain at least C combination bonus. The routine should also include another D value salto or dance skill if an E value tumbling skill is not performed. A consistently and cleanly performed E level salto is also viewed favorably by the top teams. Dance should be expressive, leaps fully completed and done with good amplitude.
These criteria are only examples, and exceptional ability on a few events (especially uneven bars) can sometimes compensate for a weakness on a single event.
For men, the competition is even more competitive, due to the small number of programs and the scarcity of scholarship funds. Gymnasts receiving the most funds are at the top of the age group ranks.
Q9: Where can I find contact information for college programs?
A9: The Links section of this site has links to the official websites of each school. Contact information is available at each site, usually in the Roster section, Coaches section or Staff Directory (under the General resources or main section of the website).
Q10: How can I tell how many scholarships are available at each school?
A10: The only way to know for certain is to contact the coaching staff, if you are a prospective student athlete. For fans, we provide a listing of scholarships based on an annual survey of coaches conducted each summer. This is located in the "Recruits" section, under the "Commits" for a particular year. Not every coaching staff participates. We also have no way to conclusive know how many scholarships have been offered out, and how many have been already committed. On our Commits page, you will see an estimate of the number of scholarships available, and our estimate of the number remaining. We can only base this number on the commits we have published or other information we receive.
For example, take an entry listing "3/1". A bold 3 indicated 3 was the number of total scholarships in the response from the Coaches in the annual survey. The italicized 1 is our estimate of the number of scholarships remaining, based on the two commits we know about. However, in many cases, these may already be claimed. In some cases, where there is no survey response, we estimate the number of scholarships available based on the current roster composition.
Each season, after the Fall signing period, additional scholarships come available due to injuries, retirements, non-renewals, and transfers. Prospective student-athletes who do not sign in the Fall should stay in contact with a wide range of schools. In fact, some schools reserve a scholarship for Spring signings.