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Report: NCAA adopts joint IWLCA/IMLCA proposal to push back recruiting to junior year

Friday, 14th April 2017

Categories Boy's/Men's, Girl's/Women's, High School, Posted 4/14/17 has reported that the NCAA DI Council adopted a joint IWLCA/IMLCA proposal to halt contact between Division I lacrosse men’s and women’s coaches and prospective student-athletes until September 1 of his or her junior year.

Lorraine Beers, head coach at 16-time defending Catholic League champion Archbishop Carroll and co-director of the Phantastix club program, said the change would be positive for many.

“It will be like the old days – 5 or 7 years ago. What happened is that they threw gas on something that was already happening.” said Beers. “For some reason everybody decided they needed to recruit girls early and that is wrong. Now you have mid-majors rushing around the country making offers to freshmen and sophomores.”

Beers said the rule change would help players that bloom late or start playing lacrosse at an older age.

“You can’t tell what a freshman is going to be like (at the college level) except for the top 1 or 2 percent of the players,” Beers said. “I have kids that don’t pick up a stick until their freshman year and some are great athletes and can’t get recruited (at that age).

“I have been prepared for the change; now you wont have all these kids making announcements on your website.”

Ebe Helm, director of the Duke’s Lacrosse Club, said the rule change would be good for most.

“I think it’s good and bad; it’s good in that maybe this frenetic pace that begins in almost 7th grade on up is going to be lowered,” he said. “Maybe the expectations and frenzy with little boys that haven’t hit puberty can relax a little.

“The bad part will be that it will put a lot more pressure on club coaches. They will now become – if they haven’t already – the primary contact for those kids. Coaches will still want to reach out to establish relationships. It it will be incredible when they reach junior year; there won’t be dribs and drabs of commitments; but your might see a sea of 100 kids making commitments right away.

“I imagine for college coaches it will allow them to have the ability to manage their teams and not babysit kids and worry about all the de-commits and holding onto boys 3 to 5 years before they ever get to see them (on the field).”

Jen Duckenfield, head coach at two-time defending Inter-Ac League champion Episcopal Academy and Director of Player Development and Recruiting for Ultimate Lacrosse Club, said girls are pressured to make choices that some should not be making under the current setup.

“I think a lot of kids commit just to commit because they are young or because everybody else is committing and they don’t realize by the time they are a junior their feelings might change on the school,” she said. “It’s the perfect rule. Kids always change their minds or second-guess their first decision.

“This eases the presasure on parents and coaches. A lot of college coaches have been burned by early recruits. I think high school coaches get burned the most because some players check out – and they feel pressure from parents (to play their committed daughters).”

John Nostrant, head coach at perennial national power and two-time defending Inter-Ac champion Haverford School as well as a director in the Mesa Lacrosse program, said early recruiting has put a major strain on many members of the lacrosse community.

“It will be interesting to see if there are ways to get around it via club coach, etc.,” said Nostrant. “But for families and players it would be great as it has caused resentment and backbiting within the different lacrosse communities around the country. It sure can’t hurt to try to fix a broken system.”

Malvern Prep coach John McEvoy, whose Friars perennially content for the Inter-Ac title, said the news made his day.

“I am thrilled and I think college and high school coaches will be thrilled,” he said. “I think it’s a great thing and I hope the world will be a little bit saner and that this will allow kids to grow and become potentially who they will be.

“It’s a relief to me. I have been saying for years that if I was a college coach I wouldn’t touch a defenseman or a goalie until that time. No one coaches defense at the youth level and rarely do you see defenders that really know how to play at that (freshman) age. And for goalies it’s very much an earned position.”


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