By Mason Steinberg
Ninth graders committing to major division one Programs has become common place in this new era of lacrosse. This changed until last spring when the NCAA passed legislation to make it illegal to contact prospective lacrosse athletes until September 1st of their Junior year. Before this, many college coaches complained that they did not want to recruit kids so young. However, since all of the major programs were doing it, everyone had to as well so they did not fall behind. This became a vicious cycle because all of the coaches wanted to change the process, but they couldn’t be the first one to start the change.
This early recruitment caused many problems for both the colleges and the student athletes. Athletes were being pressured into committing to a college,where they will spend the four most important years of their life, before they had even finished one year of high school. The athletes also could have their scholarship offer rescinded if they did not develop into the type of player the college coaches wanted. Michael Doughty, a junior lacrosse player said, “ The change in the rules has made the recruiting process less stressful for me and I think it is great for the game of lacrosse”.
The problem for the college was if the early recruits didn’t develop then they were forced to look elsewhere, however most of the recruits were already committed to other places. The old process was causing hard working kids to lose their ability to fulfill their dreams and colleges with subpar players. All who were involved decided it was time for a change. “I’m pleasantly surprised,” Virginia men’s coach Lars Tiffany told US Lacrosse Magazine. “I didn’t think the NCAA would have the courage to pass a piece of legislation that is drastically different from the current state of affairs and is not easy to enforce.”
With the new recruiting rules, student athletes can focus on adjusting to high school and working on their game instead of having to worry about a decision that most people won’t have to make until they have almost finished high school. This will also allow the colleges to evaluate prospective athletes further and recruit the right players for their system. This will lead to an increase in the level of play which will attract more fans. Overall the changes will help lacrosse continue to be the fastest growing sport in America.