Glossary of Recruiting Terms

One of the most important things you can do as a student-athlete is to put forth your best effort at being recruited by a college. Being proactive is one of the best ways to ensure your exposure to coaches and improve your offers for athletic scholarship. Here's a list of college recruiting terminology that can help clarify the many aspects of the recruiting process.

More: 8 Steps to Getting Recruited

Blue Chip: Blue chip refers to a highly sought after student-athlete; usually a student-athlete who is among the top players in his/her position coming out of high school.

Calendars: Coaches and their associates are restricted to certain times during the year when they can contact players, and in what way this contact is made. Calendar dates include contact periods, dead periods, evaluation periods and quiet periods.

Camps: There are two types of camps: instructional and showcase. Instructional camps are 3-8 week sessions where players undergo intensive training on improving their game. Showcase camps are usually held by universities where prospective recruits display their athletic abilities to coaches as part of the recruiting process.

More: Guide to College Recruiting Regulations

Clearinghouse: Formerly known as the NCAA Initial-Eligibility Clearinghouse, the NCAA Eligibility Center is the first step in the recruitment process. The Eligibility Center handles all inquiries regarding an individual's initial-eligibility status. The Eligibility Center also maintains and processes all of the initial eligibility certifications.

Combines: Combines are a camp or clinic where players perform various physical exercises to rate their physical fitness. Scores from combine tests are sent to football programs for evaluating the player as a prospective recruit. Combines as a measuring tool are growing in popularity and effectiveness in the recruiting process.

Commitment: An oral or verbal commit is a non-binding agreement between a student-athlete and prospective school. While it is tentatively understood that the student-athlete will accept the scholarship offer and attend the school, he/she is free to explore offers with other institutions until a letter of commitment has been signed.

More: Recruiting Checklist for Seniors

Contact: Contact includes face-to-face interaction between a college coach and a prospective student-athlete or his/her parents.

Contact period: The contact period is the time designated in the recruiting calendar when college coaches may make in-person, off-campus recruiting contacts and evaluations.

Dead period: The dead period is the time designated in the recruiting calendar when college coaches are restricted from making in-person, off-campus recruiting contacts and evaluations.

Evaluation: An evaluation is when a prospective coach or recruiting agent assesses a student-athlete's academic or athletics ability. Evaluations usually involve a coach or recruiter observing a game or practice.

Evaluation period: The evaluation period is the time designated in the recruiting calendar when college coaches and authorized staff are permitted to make off-campus evaluations of a prospective student-athlete's academic and playing abilities. Evaluations usually involve a coach or recruiter observing a game or practice. In-person, off-campus recruiting contact during evaluations is prohibited.

Grayshirt: A term used to describe a student-athlete who delays initial enrollment in a collegiate institution to the winter or spring term. Grayshirting usually occurs when a student-athlete is injured before the start of the academic year, forgoes classes and practice to join the team once he/she has recuperated.

National Letter of Intent: An NLI is an official agreement between a student-athlete and a prospective school stating the agreement to attend that institution for one academic year in exchange for athletics aid. Once a student-athlete has signed with a prospective school, he/she can no longer be contacted by prospective schools for recruitment.

More: Everything You Need to Know About Scholarships

National Signing Day: The first Wednesday in February is the official signing day for high school football. Following this date, student-athletes may sign letters of intent with prospective schools to attend that institution for one academic year in exchange for athletics aid.

More: 8 Steps to Getting Recruited

About the Author

Michael Cramton is a former Active editor and is a contributor on a broad array of sports and fitness topics. He is based in Austin, Texas.

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