Peter Arkle

Ivy League officials have proposed new NCAA Division I rules to reduce early recruiting of prospective student-athletes, prohibiting verbal financial-aid or admission offers to recruits before their junior year of high school. The proposal also would address certain loopholes in the existing NCAA rules, including recruiting conversations at summer camps or on campus visits that are not paid for by the university.

“The pressure on prospective student-athletes to commit to a specific college earlier and earlier is a national issue,” Ivy League Executive Director Robin Harris said in a Sept. 21 news release. “It causes stress for prospects and their families, as they are often asked to make a life-altering decision as high school freshmen or sophomores, and sometimes even before they have started high school.”

An Inside Higher Ed story about the Ivy proposal cited a handful of recent college commitments made by eighth-grade athletes in football, women’s soccer, and men’s lacrosse.

Under existing Ivy rules, recruited athletes cannot be admitted before their senior year of high school, and while the league allows admission offices to send “likely letters” before formal admission decisions are made, indicating that a candidate is likely to be admitted, those letters can only be sent on or after Oct. 1 of the prospect’s senior year.