NCAA Baseball DI Official and Unofficial Visits

NCAA DI Baseball Official & Unofficial Visits

If a coach offers you a visit to a university, it’s a pretty good indication that there’s interest. There are two different types of visits; official and unofficial. Each are regulated by a different set of rules, and therefore, provide for a different experience for prospective college baseball players. NCAA baseball official visits are essentially a fully paid experience for the player, with some costs being covered for the accompanied family members. On the other hand, for an unofficial visit, the player is responsible for the expenses incurred from.

The NCAA guidelines for recruiting visits vary by division, but before getting into those details, it’s important to understand the purpose of visits and what players should get out of them. Recruits are typically assigned a host student who will essentially serve as a mentor for the duration of the visit. This allows students to get a feel for the baseball program and the institution from the perspective of a current student-athlete. Up to this point, recruits have mostly spoken with the coaching staff and the admissions office. A player will likely meet several current student-athletes on the team, so this is a fantastic opportunity to see things from the players’ point of view. Additionally, it gives players a chance to gauge if they are a good fit within the team culture. A visit is certainly a small sample size, but it should give players a better feel for what that experience will look like as a student-athlete at that institution.

Before we get into the rules by division, it’s worth noting that non-athletic related visits are not governed by the following NCAA rules.

NCAA Division I Baseball Official Visits

The following three requirements must be met before a player is eligible for an official visit at the Division I level.

  • The prospective college baseball player must provide the NCAA institution with high school transcripts.
  • The player must register through the NCAA Eligibility Center.
  • The student-athlete must be placed on the institutional request list (IRL) with the NCAA Eligibility Center.

From a timing standpoint, an official visit cannot be provided to student-athletes before September 1st of their junior year of high school. Additionally, a prospective college baseball player may only go on five official visits to different Division I institutions. The player may only repeat an official visit if there was a coaching change since the previous official visit. For transferring purposes, players are given another five official visits starting October 15th, following their high school graduation. While getting a visit is a great sign, keep in mind that a DI baseball program can provide a maximum of 25 official visits on an annual basis.

On NCAA official visits, a prospective college baseball player can be provided with lodging and meals at no expense to the player. Local facilities can be used, but have to be in line with normal student life at the institution. The program may also provide expense-paid-for lodging and meals to the four family members accompanying the player. The player and accompanied family members can also receive complimentary admission to a home athletic event, taking place within a 30 mile radius of the campus. Additional entertainment can also be provided to the group, within these same guidelines mentioned above.

During an official visit, players are typically assigned a student host, normally a current member of the baseball team. The host will show the recruit the campus, introduce fellow teammates, take them to a sporting event, and provide other entertainment for the duration of the visit. In many cases the recruit will stay in the dorm room with the host, so the prospective player can get a feel for the college experience at that institution. The host student is given a maximum of $75 per day to cover the cost of entertainment. This excludes the costs associated with meals and admission to home athletic events.

Once a player arrives at the institution for the official visit, they have 48 hours to remain on campus. At the completion of the 48 hour timeline, the player must depart from the campus. If for some reason a player remains on campus after that point, the institution cannot cover any additional costs, including transportation.

DI Unofficial Visits

From a timeline standpoint, unofficial visits cannot occur prior to September 1st before the prospective baseball player’s junior year in high school. Unlike an official visit, there isn’t a limit to how many times a player can visit a university at their own expense.

During an unofficial visit, an institution cannot pay for any of the expenses a prospective student-athlete has incurred. The only thing the university can provide is three complimentary tickets to a home athletic event. If the player comes from a non traditional family, he will be provided two additional tickets. From a lodging standpoint, a player can stay overnight in a dorm room, as long as the institutional rate is paid by the player.

Outside of who is covering the expenses, an unofficial visit can have a similar feel as an official visit. Players can still be assigned a host student to guide them through their experience on campus. It may not be as glamorous as being put up in a hotel and eating on the institution’s dime, but unofficial visits are still a great opportunity for prospective college baseball players. While the 48 hour timeline doesn’t apply to unofficial visits, they tend to be shorter experiences, typically without an overnight stay.

In the coming weeks, we’ll be posting additional information about official and unofficial visits at the Division II and Division III levels, so be sure check back in!