If you already checked out our post about Division I visits, you’ll find a lot of similarities with the regulations for official and unofficial visits at the Division II level. The NCAA imposes these rules so that institutions are conducting their recruiting activities within the same guidelines. While there are many reasons for this, the main purpose is to establish an even playing field, from a recruiting standpoint, across all NCAA programs.
These rules are also put in place to protect the interests of the prospective student-athletes. By setting strict guidelines during official and unofficial visits, it allows players to more accurately assess a school. If a player goes on multiple visits, each experience will follow a similar structure. As a result, a player should be able to compare their experiences and make an accurate assessment of what school is a better fit for their situation. The guidelines also ensure that their visit experience is similar to that of a typical student-athlete at that institution. Through a visit, a prospective player should be able to get a pretty good feel for life at that university as a student-athlete.
Division II Official Visits
Prospective college baseball players must meet the following three requirements before they are eligible for Division II official visits:
- The player’s high school transcripts must be provided to the NCAA institution
- The player must submit a registration for the NCAA Eligibility Center
- The prospective student-athlete has to be added to the institutional request list (IRL), through the NCAA Eligibility Center.
A prospective college baseball player becomes eligible for an expense-paid visit starting on the 15th of June, following the player’s junior year in high school. Additionally, an NCAA Division II institution can only provide one official visit per prospective student-athlete. After September 1st, following the player’s high school graduation, the player would be allowed to repeat an official visit, at a school where an official visit was already conducted. This is mostly put in place for transfer students, who are essentially restarting the recruiting process.
Similar to that of Division I, an official visit is limited to a 48 hour period. The clock starts as soon as the player gets on campus, and at the completion of the 48 hours, the player must depart the campus. If the player does not depart at that time, the institution is not allowed to pay any expenses that are incurred after that point, including transportation costs.
From an accommodation standpoint, the visiting player can be provided with lodging in line with that of a typical student at the institution. Commercial facilities can be used, but again, have to be similar to what a typical student at that university would expect. The prospective student-athlete’s accompanying family members can stay in the same room as the player, but costs for an additional room will not be covered.
The institution can also cover the cost of meals for the player and the player’s family during the official visit, as well as during travel to and from the official visit. During the visit, the institution may also provide entertainment to the prospective student-athlete and the family members. Along with the entertainment, the group can also be provided a maximum of five complementary tickets to a home athletic event on or near the campus.
In most cases, the prospective baseball player will be assigned a host, who is a current player. This host will serve as a mentor throughout the experience, giving them a tour of the campus, dorms, academic buildings, and athletic facilities. The prospective player will also have an opportunity to meet with current players, and in some cases, stay in the student host’s dorm for the true college experience. The student host can be given a maximum of $30 per day to cover the costs of entertaining the player and the player’s family. The $30 does not include covering the costs for meals. An official visit allows prospective student-athletes to get a really good feel for every aspect of an institution. It’s an extremely valuable experience, and is an opportunity a prospective student-athlete should take advantage of, if available.
If a prospective student-athlete is covering the cost, they can visit an NCAA Division II institution as many times as they please. The only stipulation is that the unofficial visit would have to occur after June 14th, following the player’s junior year in high school.
During the unofficial visit, the institution cannot pay for any of the player’s expenses, including costs of travel, lodging, and most meals. The institution is allowed to provide the player and the player’s family in attendance with one meal on or off campus during the unofficial visit. Other than five complimentary admissions to a home university athletic event, the institution is not allowed to provide any entertainment for the prospective college baseball player.
It’s also worth noting that a prospective student-athlete can stay with a current player on the team if they live in a dorm room. In this situation, the prospective player would have to pay the regular institution rate for this type of lodging.
With these limitations, an unofficial visit doesn’t seem as glamorous as the fully paid for official visit. This shouldn’t discourage players from taking advantage of an unofficial visit though. It’s still an incredible opportunity to get a feel for the school, even if it does come at an expense to you.