Beginning July 1st, the NCAA approved a significant adjustment to the official visit guideline. Student-athletes can now make unlimited official visits to colleges and universities. Lynda Tealer, chair of the Division I Council, stated, "For young people considering where to go to college, visits to campus -- both official and unofficial -- are an integral part of the decision-making process.". "This was an opportunity to modernize NCAA rules in a way that provides greater and more meaningful opportunities for prospects going through the recruitment process."
An official visit is by invitation and is financed in whole or part by the institution. The visit can include transportation, lodging, meals, and other expenses. Official visits are typically arranged and paid for by the college or university's athletic department. The number of official visits offered varies greatly depending on the sport and individual college or university funding allowances. These visits were previously limited to five. However, the new ruling will allow student-athletes to make unlimited official visits. During an official visit, prospective student-athletes are allowed to meet with coaches, other members of the athletic department, and current student-athletes. They can also tour the campus and athletic facilities, attend sporting events, and experience the academic and social aspects of the institution.
In contrast, an unofficial visit is a trip to a college or university that the institution does not finance. Prospective student-athletes and their families are responsible for all expenses associated with the holiday, including transportation, lodging, and meals. During an unofficial visit, the athlete can meet with coaches, tour the campus and athletic facilities, and attend sporting events. Unofficial visits are subject to different limitations than official visits, and there is no limit to the number of unofficial visits a prospective student-athlete can make.
In summary, the main difference between an official and unofficial visit to NCAA schools is that the institution funds official visits. In contrast, athletes and their families fund unofficial visits. Additionally, a student-athlete is limited to one official visit per school.
The NCAA recognizes the new guideline as an effort to allow athletes to explore their options without feeling restricted by the five-visit rule.
To learn more about the student-athlete recruiting process, please visit https://www.peakeducationalconsulting.com/student-athlete.